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Christmas vs. Thanksgiving: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on January 14, 2024
Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, marked by gift-giving and festive decorations. Thanksgiving is an American and Canadian holiday for giving thanks, primarily known for feasts and family gatherings.

Key Differences

Christmas is celebrated on December 25th as the birth of Jesus Christ in Christian tradition, involving religious and cultural festivities. Thanksgiving is observed in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November, centering around gratitude and a harvest feast.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024
Christmas is known for its traditions of decorating trees, exchanging gifts, and various cultural festivities. Thanksgiving focuses on a large meal, usually featuring turkey, as a centerpiece of the celebration, symbolizing gratitude and togetherness.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024
Christmas often includes attending church services and singing carols, reflecting its religious origins. Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, where the emphasis is on giving thanks, often through family gatherings and special meals.
Huma Saeed
Jan 14, 2024
Christmas is celebrated globally in various forms, often including Santa Claus and other regional customs. Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada, each with its unique traditions and historical origins.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024
Christmas often involves a period of advent leading up to the day, marking a season of anticipation and preparation. Thanksgiving is typically a one-day celebration, although it marks the beginning of the holiday season in the United States, leading up to Christmas and New Year's Day.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Date of Celebration

December 25
Fourth Thursday of November (U.S.)
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Origin

Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ
Celebrates harvest and blessings of the past year
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Traditions

Decorating trees, gift-giving, attending church
Preparing and sharing a feast, often turkey
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Global Reach

Celebrated worldwide, with variations
Mainly celebrated in the U.S. and Canada
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Cultural Symbol

Santa Claus, Christmas tree, nativity scenes
Pumpkin pie, cornucopia, Pilgrim and Native American themes
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024
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Christmas and Thanksgiving Definitions

Christmas

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
They went to midnight mass on Christmas.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 12, 2023

Thanksgiving

Originally a celebration of the harvest and blessings of the past year.
They shared stories of gratitude at the Thanksgiving dinner.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

Christmas

A period marked by various cultural celebrations and traditions.
The city was adorned with lights and decorations for Christmas.
Huma Saeed
Dec 12, 2023

Thanksgiving

A day dedicated to expressing gratitude for life's blessings.
They volunteered at a local shelter on Thanksgiving to give back to the community.
Huma Saeed
Dec 12, 2023

Christmas

In many cultures, a celebration during the winter season.
They sang carols and enjoyed hot cocoa during Christmas.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

Thanksgiving

A time when families come together to celebrate.
Their annual Thanksgiving gathering included relatives from all over the country.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

Christmas

A time for exchanging presents with loved ones.
They spent Christmas Eve wrapping gifts.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 12, 2023

Thanksgiving

A day for giving thanks for blessings and relationships.
Thanksgiving is a time for family reunions and feasts.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

Christmas

A statutory holiday in many countries.
Schools and offices are usually closed on Christmas Day.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Thanksgiving

Known for its traditional turkey dinner and accompanying dishes.
They spent the morning preparing the Thanksgiving turkey.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Christmas

A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

An act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude, especially to God
A hymn of thanksgiving.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Christmas

December 25, the day on which this feast is observed as a public holiday in many countries.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Christmas

Christmastide.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

An expression of gratitude.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Christmas

An annual church festival (December 25) and in some States a legal holiday, in memory of the birth of Christ, often celebrated by a particular church service, and also by special gifts, greetings, and hospitality.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

A short prayer said at meals; grace, a benediction.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Christmas

Period extending from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

A public celebration in acknowledgement of divine favour.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Christmas

A Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ; a quarter day in England, Wales, and Ireland
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

The act of rending thanks, or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies.
Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.
In the thanksgiving before meat.
And taught by thee the Church prolongsHer hymns of high thanksgiving still.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Christmas

Spend Christmas;
We were christmassing in New York
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

A public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness; also, a day set apart for religious services, specially to acknowledge the goodness of God, either in any remarkable deliverance from calamities or danger, or in the ordinary dispensation of his bounties.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

Fourth Thursday in November in the United States; second Monday in October in Canada; commemorates a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Thanksgiving

A short prayer of thanks before a meal
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

FAQs

What is Thanksgiving?

A holiday for expressing gratitude, celebrated with a feast, primarily in the U.S. and Canada.
Huma Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

When is Thanksgiving observed in the U.S.?

Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the U.S.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Are gifts exchanged during Christmas?

Yes, exchanging gifts is a common tradition during Christmas.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024

What is Christmas?

A Christian holiday celebrating Jesus Christ's birth, marked by cultural festivities and gift-giving.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Is Thanksgiving a religious holiday?

Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, though individuals may include religious elements in their personal observances.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024

What are common Christmas decorations?

Common decorations include Christmas trees, lights, and nativity scenes.
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

When is Christmas celebrated?

Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

Are there parades associated with these holidays?

Yes, there are often parades, like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Christmas parades.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024

Is Santa Claus part of Christmas?

Yes, Santa Claus is a popular figure associated with Christmas in many cultures.
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

Is volunteering common on Thanksgiving?

Yes, many people volunteer at shelters and food banks on Thanksgiving.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

How is Thanksgiving in Canada different from the U.S.?

Canadian Thanksgiving is in October and has different historical origins.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

What is a traditional Thanksgiving meal?

A traditional Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Is Christmas a religious holiday?

Yes, Christmas has Christian origins but is also celebrated culturally by many.
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

Do people attend church on Christmas?

Many people attend church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Harlon Moss
Jan 14, 2024

What are typical Christmas meals?

Christmas meals vary but often include roast meats, pies, and special desserts.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

What does Thanksgiving symbolize?

Thanksgiving symbolizes gratitude and the blessings of the past year.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

Do other countries celebrate Christmas?

Yes, Christmas is celebrated worldwide, often with unique regional customs.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

What is Black Friday in relation to Thanksgiving?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is known for shopping deals and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 14, 2024

What are Christmas carols?

Christmas carols are festive songs sung during the Christmas season.
Janet White
Jan 14, 2024

How do people travel during these holidays?

Both holidays see a significant amount of travel as people visit family and friends.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 14, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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