Thanksgiving vs Christmas: Difference and Comparison

Holidays are the cheerful time of the year when friends and families come together and celebrate. Holidays are fun! The very mood holiday brings can lift up your soul.

There are many holidays, and each has its own uniqueness. Each holiday falls at a different time of the year and is epitomized by specific things.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are famous holidays celebrated by many people around the world.

Key Takeaways

  1. Thanksgiving is an American holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, focusing on gratitude and family gatherings.
  2. Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrated worldwide on December 25th, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
  3. Both holidays involve family gatherings and feasts but differ in origin, traditions, and religious significance.

Thanksgiving vs Christmas

The difference between Thanksgiving and Christmas is that Thanksgiving is the celebration of being thankful for the blessings of the previous harvest. On Thanksgiving, Families gather together, and a special Thanksgiving meal is served. On the other hand, Christmas is celebrated to remember and rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is celebrated by people around the world, irrespective of their religion.

Thanksgiving vs Christmas

Thanksgiving is celebrated at the end of Fall. It is celebrated by preparing a Thanksgiving meal which must include stuffed Turkey and pumpkin dishes.

Thanksgiving is mostly celebrated in the United States and Canada.

Thanksgiving is the time to get together with friends and family, so people travel from different places, making Thanksgiving day one of the busiest days to travel.

Christmas is a winter holiday, and it is the most famous holiday. The main tradition of Christmas is to find the perfect Christmas tree and decorate the houses with twinkling lights and jingling bells.

Christmas is the day Jesus Christ was born. Christmas falls on the 25th of December. However, the spirit of Christmas will be maintained throughout the month.

Christmas is epitomized by Santa Claus delivering presents to children.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonThanksgivingChristmas
Significance Being thankful for the harvest and other blessings one has.Birth of Jesus Christ
Month November December
Season FallWinter
FoodTurkey stuffing or roast turkey, Mashed potatoes, Cranberry sauce, Pumpkin pie etc Eggnog , Cakes, Cookies, Gingerbread, Mince pies, Nutmeg etc.
Decorations Since, Thanksgiving falls on late November, Fall colored decorations of Orange, brown and rust colors are used. Brightly colored pumpkins, dried hay bales and corn husk wreaths are also included. Besides, Turkey dolls have a permanent place in Thanksgiving decoration.Decorations of green, red and white colors are preferred. Evergreen trees are irreplaceable in Christmas decorations. Mistletoe is traditionally linked to Christmas. Snow and Shimmering lights lift up the mood.
Events Church services, Lightings and decorations, giving gifts and family gatherings.Family gathering, Turkey decorations, Thanksgiving meal.

What is Thanksgiving?

The holiday of being thankful is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the USA and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

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History states that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the British people who came to America (also known as the pilgrims) and the Native Americans.

It is believed that they had shared a feast of their fall harvest. Thanksgiving menu and observances have changed since the first Thanksgiving.

With modernization, Thanksgiving has lost its original religious significance. Now it’s all about cooking and serving a luscious meal to family and friends.

Turkey is the most important on the menu, and the other delicacies include pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, apple cider, sweet potato casserole, jellied cranberry sauce, spiced apples etc.

Thanksgiving parades are held in different cities in the United States. Football on Thanksgiving has also become a tradition today, and there will definitely be a football match for families to rival over on Thanksgiving Day.

For people who love both Fall and winter, Thanksgiving will be their favourite holiday. Thanksgiving is celebrated in late Fall.

The weather is neither too cold nor too hot. This is the time when fall transitions into winter, and the first winter breeze gusts through the branches of trees with crimson fall leaves.

The weather is pleasant during Thanksgiving. On the whole, Thanksgiving is spending quality time with family and cherishing the simple things in life.


What is Christmas?

The word Christmas comes from old English and means “Christ’s mass. This refers to the special mass ceremonies held at churches to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christians celebrate Christmas, but long before the origin of Christmas, the Norse had been celebrating the winter solstice, known as Yule, during winter.

People follow various customs during Christmas. Decorating the Christmas tree is the most famous custom. People buy a Tree, most preferably a conifer like spruce, pine or fir. Artificial trees are also used.

Initially, Christmas trees were illuminated with candles which were replaced with electric lights. Ornaments like candy canes, bells and garlands are hung on the Christmas tree.

A star or an angel is placed on the top of the tree. Christmas presents are placed under the Christmas tree.

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Gingerbread houses are made, homemade cakes are cookies that belong to the Christmas season, people wear sweaters of green and red color to symbolize Christmas, making eggnog is also a century-old custom, Christmas wreaths made up of coniferous leaves, pine cones, bells and ribbon are hung on doors, Christmas cards are sent to loved ones, Christmas lights are used to light up houses, and Christmas stockings are hung on the mantel of the fireplace.

Not to mention the Christmas carols echoing in every corner of the towns.

Santa Claus and Christmas traditions are inseparable. Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, is a legendary figure of a bearded man.

He is joyful and cheering. It is believed that on the night of Christmas, Santa rides the sky in his sleigh driven by reindeer, enters children’s homes through the chimney, and places presents under the Christmas tree.

Now, people dressed as Santa can be spotted everywhere during Christmas. Christmas is also the time for family reunions and new beginnings.


Main Differences Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

  1. Thanksgiving is celebrated in Fall, while Christmas is in Winter. The weather is different during both holidays, and the theme of decoration also varies.
  2. Thanksgiving is celebrated only one day and ends with a meal. On the other hand, Christmas is celebrated for a month, and the festivities and customs are long and diverse compared to Thanksgiving.
  3. Christmas comes with a whole lot of excitement, like Christmas carols, Presents, lights and Santa Claus, but Thanksgiving is celebrated in a calming manner with family and friends.
  4. The integrity of Thanksgiving as a family holiday has been maintained for a long time while the media have morphed Christmas to look more commercial than simple holiday time bonding with family.
  5. Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies and other fall delicacies. But the Christmas feast includes cakes, cookies, meat of any sort, eggnog and other winter foods.
  6. Thanksgiving is mainly celebrated only in the USA and Canada, while many countries around the globe celebrate Christmas.
  7. Christmas is for sitting by the fire, drinking eggnog and eating homemade cookies. It is considered the cosiest holiday season. Thanksgiving is about sharing a meal and blessings with your family and friends. It is the time for bonding.
Difference Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving vs Christmas: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The discussion on the extensive customs and traditions associated with Christmas is both fascinating and amusing. It’s remarkable how these customs have become deeply ingrained in the spirit of Christmas!

  2. A delightful and engaging read! The detailed comparison table provided a comprehensive overview of the differences between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There’s a lot to appreciate about both holidays!

  3. I’m not entirely convinced by the argument that Thanksgiving is a calmer holiday compared to Christmas. Both holidays have their own unique charm and excitement, and it ultimately depends on individual preferences.

  4. The historical background on Thanksgiving and Christmas is well-researched and informative. It’s a great reminder of the original significance of these holidays and how they’ve evolved over time.

  5. Interesting post! I believe the author has made a thorough analysis of the differences and similarities between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Though I think merchandising has somewhat overshadowed the true meaning of both holidays.

  6. Holidays are indeed a cheerful and fun time of the year! Both Thanksgiving and Christmas are joyful occasions filled with love and family gatherings. It’s great to reflect on the positive aspects of these holidays!


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