Do Claire and Jamie celebrate Christmas in Outlander?

Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of STARZ Media Center
Outlander Season 4 -- Courtesy of STARZ Media Center /

It’s Christmas Eve, and for many of us that means we’re getting kids into bed and getting ready for celebrations tomorrow. What about in Outlander?

This seems like an odd question at first. Claire and Jamie are Catholic. Of course they celebrate Christmas, right?

When you get into the books and the show, you’ll notice that there aren’t many mentions of Christmas. In Outlander Season 3, we got an episode at the time of Christmas, but that was in the 20th century. We don’t see Claire and Jamie involved in gift-giving this time of the year.

In fact, in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, Roger suggests to Brianna that they do Christmas this year. It’s not normal in the 18th century, but Jemmy and Mandy will remember celebrating the day in the 20th century.

Christmas is a religious festival in Outlander

Claire and Jamie do celebrate Christmas, but not in the way we do together. Something that the Outlander books keep pointing out—and it just hasn’t been brought up in the show yet—is that Christmas isn’t quite the celebration that we know of today.

It’s observed in a religious sense. It marks the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s it. There aren’t the big celebrations and family dinners that we’re used to now. In the ninth book, Roger and Brianna decide that they should probably bring some of the traditions to the past for Jemmy and Mandy, although not quite in the same way.

Hogmanay is the big celebration of the time. We get a mention of that in The Fiery Cross, with the superstitious activity called “first footing.”

This is all true to history, by the way. Scotland didn’t make Christmas Day a public holiday until 1958!

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