Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, when people are at their most festive, most giving, most kind — save a few Scrooges and Grinches — and the holiday can be great wherever you spend it, as long as you spend it right. But Christmas at Hogwarts is on another level. The atmosphere, the decorations, the castle, and the food all come together to create the most perfect holiday.
Harry Potter always knew Hogwarts was the place to be during this especially magical time of year. Here's why Christmas at Hogwarts is actually the greatest.
Everyone's gone, so you have the whole castle to yourself
Unless the Yule Ball is happening, the vast majority of students leave Hogwarts for the holidays, meaning those who do stay have plenty of space to roam the halls without having to weave between clusters of classmates. Plus, since classes aren't in session, there's also more time to explore the castle. After all, it was during a late-night Christmas stroll when Harry first found the Mirror of Erised.
Hogwarts looks even prettier in the snow
Hogwarts, a majestic, multi-tower castle nestled in a mountain-enclosed valley with sprawling lawns beside a huge lake and a creature-filled forest, looks magical — even if you didn't know that it actually was, as longtime Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, may he rest in peace, called it, "a stronghold of ancient magic." (Of course, if you didn't know that, chances are you probably wouldn't be able to see the castle at all.) The only thing that makes Hogwarts look even more magical is a blanket of snow, and a White Christmas is pretty much a given in the Scottish Highlands. But you don't have to be too worried about the chill factor, because...
Hot butterbeer can warm up even the coldest winter day
It may be freezing outside, but nothing beats a hot butterbeer on a snowy winter's day, and Madam Rosmerta is just waiting to serve you a foaming mug at The Three Broomsticks. Hogsmeade is just a day trip away from Hogwarts, and while you're there, you can take care of all your holiday shopping. Plus, Hogsmeade looks "like a Christmas card" with holly wreaths and candles in the trees. And speaking of buying presents...
Presents await at the foot of your bed on Christmas morning
When he woke up on his first Christmas at Hogwarts, the first thing Harry saw was "a small pile of packages at the foot of his bed." Of course, Christmas is about love and family and not about presents, but what better reminder that you're loved than presents from loved ones? Somewhere between that asleep and awake state, your eyes would open slightly and, just like the Boy Who Lived, you'd say, "Will you look at this? I've got some presents!" And if you're lucky, you'll already know what's inside one of those packages...
The annual cozy Christmas jumper
The annual hand-knit gift from Mrs. Weasley is one you can count on to bring warmth to your body and your heart. The classic monogram and curated colors give the gift a personal touch — even if you do get one every year — reminding the wearer that every stitch was slipped with love. There's no forgetting Harry's excited face in when Ron first welcomed him to the family tradition and said, "Looks like you've got one too!"
Forget hauling boxes of ornaments down from the attic
Using magic to decorate the Christmas tree makes the holiday so much more... well, magical. With the flick of a wrist and the proper pronunciation of Wingardium Leviosa, ornaments easily float onto the tree, no step stool necessary, even for the star on top. That, and the enchanted candles, so evenly spaced around the tree, illuminate it in a way that string lights never could. As for the post-season cleanup, we imagine just a quick packing charm for the ornaments and a scouring charm after removing the tree will do the trick! But not everything can be done with magic...
It's Hagrid's time to shine
Oft misunderstood, Hagrid wasn't the most respected member of the Hogwarts community, but come Christmastime, he could spread the cheer like no one else — literally. It was the Keeper of Keys and Grounds's responsibility to use his unparalleled strength and haul the massive Christmas trees into the castle. All the more reason to love Hagrid, the half-giant who could physically overpower any witch or wizard, but whose soft heart just won't allow it.
The Christmas spirit is all around you
When it's Christmas, every inch of the castle is decorated to the nines, so you can plot and scheme in the midst of that fresh pine tree smell wherever the swiveling staircase leads you. The teachers even decorate their classrooms. Remember that year when Professor Flitwick's holiday lights were actually fairies?
And the halls are filled with song!
Beyond the pine and baubles, caroling is a big part of the Hogwarts Christmas spirit. Ghost carolers fill the hallowed halls by harmonizing classic tunes such as "Christmas at Hogwarts," and Dumbledore is known to bust out some of his holiday favorites as Hagrid sings along more and more energetically with each glass of eggnog.
There is actual snow falling in the Great Hall
All of Hogwarts looks magnificent at Christmastime, but the Great Hall tops it all. Twelve frost-covered trees line the walls, holly and mistletoe hang across the ceiling, and, the part that reminds you you're in a magical castle, warm, dry snow falls from the ceiling. So that White Christmas that is happening outside is also going on inside — but without the frigid windchill.
The Christmas feast to top all feasts
If you're a person who likes to mark special occasions with food, then take notes. Other than Halloween (which is way more crowded than Christmas), Christmas dinner at Hogwarts is the most extravagant meal of the year. The mouth-watering menu includes "a hundred fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce."
And forget party horns. At Hogwarts, wizard crackers are strewn about the table, "fantastic party favors" that are "nothing like the feeble Muggle ones." When pulled, wizard crackers let out a blast of blue smoke and "a rear admiral's hat and several live, white mice" march out. How's that for a holiday surprise?