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The differences between a Muggle Christmas and a wizarding Christmas

All Christmases are magical, but wizarding Christmases are a bit more magical than most...

A snowy Hogsmeade with Hermione Ron and an invisible Harry.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Whether you’re a Muggle basting a turkey or a wizard watching the gravy stir itself, Christmas is a magical time. Yet, naturally, wizarding Christmases do tend to be a bit more magical than others, encompassing all manner of twists on familiar festive favourites. It’s enough to make you want to dump your dull, lifeless Christmas lights in the bin. After all, what’s the point if they’re not actually real, fluttering fairies?

Food

The Great Hall at Christmas
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

A wizarding Christmas dinner is not too dissimilar from a Muggle Christmas dinner. The Hogwarts’ Christmas feast is usually awash with turkeys and flaming Christmas puddings, and even the most powerful of wizards won’t be able to resist falling asleep by the end of it. But there are a few magical touches that Muggles sadly cannot compete with.

The main thing being that there are means of magic that can make food replenish itself, meaning Christmas dinner never has to end. Imagine having the miracle of never-ending wine, for example. Magical stuff aside, wizards also like to put their own little twist on the old Muggle tradition of hiding a sixpence in a Christmas pudding, as demonstrated by Percy, who nearly choked on a Sickle embedded in his festive dessert.

Presents

Harry holding the invisibility cloak
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Given that wizards are wizards, their Christmas presents are a bit more magical than most. Harry, for example, sampled the delights of both worlds, going from toothpicks and 50p pieces from the Dursleys to Invisibility Cloaks, Firebolts and magical penknives.

There are certain gifts, however, that are only slightly dissimilar to Muggle ones. Wizards, for instance, still receive presents such as sweets, socks and jumpers – but they just happen to be decorated with Snitches and Hungarian Horntails, and the sweets are usually Chocolate Frogs or a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.

Traditions

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

A lot of Christmas wizarding traditions are very similar to our Muggle ones. There’s eggnog, kissing under mistletoe and even Christmas carols, except in the wizarding world they’re more likely to be sung by a tipsy half-giant or an enchanted suit of an armour.

Luna speaking to Sanguine at Slughorn's party
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

There are a few little traditions that particular wizards have adopted, though: Mrs Weasley loved to listen to the Christmas broadcast of her favourite singer Celestina Warbeck, whereas Harry and his friends were quite partial to some wizard chess or a few rounds of Exploding Snap.

And let’s not forget about Slughorn’s Christmas parties, not that the likes of us would ever be invited. Aside from that, Muggle Christmases and wizard ones are remarkably similar, although we’re sure wizard Christmases don’t involve watching Harry Potter movie marathons…

Decorations

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

While some of us are guilty of going a little overboard with our festive decorations, our humble fairy lights will always pale in comparison to the Hogwarts Great Hall during Christmas time.

While Muggles struggle to drag home just one Christmas tree, the Great Hall usually boasts around a dozen massive ones, all immaculately adorned in candles, holly berries and even ‘real hooting golden owls’. Throw in everlasting icicles, Christmas lights that are actually fairies and enchanted snow falling from the ceiling, and even our impressive Christmas tree colour schemes can’t live up to all of that.

Let’s not forget about the amazing-sounding Christmas crackers too, which extravagantly explode to reveal things like live mice and novelty hats. We don’t mean flimsy paper crowns that break the second we put them on either – we mean fully realised rear-admiral’s hats.

Meanwhile, outside of Hogwarts, Fred and George Weasley were also known to experiment with an unorthodox decorating technique. For while Muggles have taken to putting stars or angels on top of their Christmas trees, the twins opted to top theirs with a golden painted gnome, dressed it in a tutu. It’s good to think outside the box sometimes.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire