As members of the Protestant Christian faith, many Baptists celebrate a traditional American Christmas by erecting a Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, attending special Christmas church services, and enjoying special meals and parties with family and friends. They may also attend special Christmas events or observances in their local area and decorate the outside of their homes.
During the holiday season, Christian churches observe the advent. This is the countdown to Christmas. For each of the weeks following Thanksgiving up to Christmas, churches have a special observance. This is sometimes merely the lighting of candles or a special prayer. It may also involve the taking of communion. Churches also put on special Christmas plays or cantatas and erect nativity scenes that depict Jesus's early days in a manger. Some churches also hold special Christmas Eve services or prayer sessions.
As much of Christian culture as Christmas has become, Baptists have not always been fans of Christmas. Prior to the late 19th century, very few Baptists celebrated Christmas. It was not until the 20th century that the practice of celebrating Christmas within the Baptist faith became widespread. There are some Baptists, however, who question the validity of celebrating Christmas due to the widespread commercialization of the holiday.