12 Reasons Christmas Isn’t a Thing in Las Vegas

Let’s face it, Las Vegas and Christmas don’t mesh.

While a recent study by Wallethub ranked Las Vegas the third best city in the U.S. for Christmas, we’re calling bull.

Cue the perfunctory Grinch shaming.

Vegas Santa
Enough with the whimsy, it’s time to get real about Christmas in Las Vegas.

Wallethub used these criteria to measure a city’s compatibility with Christmas: 1) Traditions and Fun, 2) Observance, 3) Generosity, 4) Shopping and 5) Costs.

If you look at the reality of Christmas in Las Vegas, it doesn’t take long to realize Wallethub must be getting an early start on the eggnog.

So, here are 12 reasons Christmas isn’t a big deal in Las Vegas, at all.

1. Everyone’s On the Naughty List

It’s a fun game everywhere else. Santa keeps a list of who’s naughty and nice to decide if we’re worthy of gifts at Christmas. But Las Vegas works differently. Everyone’s naughty. It’s build into the ecosystem. Misbehaving is the whole point. List-keeping is rendered moot, sorry, St. Nick.

Great Santa Run
Naughty is king in Las Vegas.

2. All the Christmas Trees and Snow are Fake

Las Vegas is located in the Mojave Desert. “Mojave” is a Native American word meaning, “enjoy the melanoma.” It’s hard to get whipped up into a Christmas frenzy with fake trees and snow. Have you ever tried making a snow angel in the sand? Try this Christmas carol, “O Come All Ye Excoriated.” Seriously, the number of Christmas tree farms in Las Vegas is exactly zero. We don’t cut down our trees, we disassemble them.

Bellagio Conservatory Christmas 2018
The Bellagio Conservatory makes a great effort to simulate Christmas tidings, but illusion only goes so far.

3. Nobody Christmas Carols in Las Vegas

Speaking of caroling, we don’t do that. For one thing, caroling in annoying. It’s like karaoke, except you can’t throw things at the singers because they keep moving. The other thing is caroling’s all about neighbors interacting. Neighbors don’t interact in Las Vegas. They might wave from a distance, but that’s awkward enough, imagine someone singing. That’s a big fat no-no, thankfully.

4. Christmas Sparkle Can’t Compare to Our Everyday Sparkle

In other parts of the world, Christmas is accompanied by lights and glowing things and decorations and holiday flair. It’s the stuff of Currier and Ives prints, whoever they might actually be. In Las Vegas, however, it’s 24/7/365 glitter and shimmer and bling. You can’t improve upon perfection, so Christmas is redundant and always comes up short. Put simply: In Las Vegas, our halls are always decked.

Good try, but nope.

5. Las Vegas is a Perpetual Holiday Party

Again, elsewhere, Christmas is sort of an excuse for things. It’s an excuse to indulge. It’s a reason to drink heavily and lounge about and get some strange at the office holiday party. Las Vegas is one big holiday party, but the celebration isn’t limited to the holidays. Every day in Las Vegas, some drunk idiot is doing the Las Vegas Strip equivalent of Xeroxing his butt. Here’s a simple experiment: Measure the gossip after: 1) your office holiday party and, 2) a Las Vegas trip. Not even close.

6. Christmas is a Religious Holiday

This is a key reason Las Vegas and Christmas have irreconcilable differences. Christmas is a religious holiday, and as such there’s an element of reverence. Las Vegas is irreverent. It’s Sin City. “Sin” is right there in the town’s nickname. “What happens here, stays here.” That’s the opposite of religion. Religions are about rules, whereas Las Vegas was built on going to great lengths to disregard rules. It’s also worth noting Las Vegas is an international destination. Christianity, whose holiday Christmas is, makes up only about 30% of the  world’s population. Las Vegas is religion “agnostic,” so Christmas is just another day.

7. Complete Lack of Virgins

A centerpiece of Christmas tradition, the Nativity, is people gathering around yon virgin. Which is possibly the least Las Vegas thing, ever.

Ho ho ho
Please grow up.

8. Christmas is All About Family, Vegas Not So Much

Las Vegas is a strange town. Most people are from somewhere else, which means there are fewer extended families here. At its core, Las Vegas is the place people go to get away from their family. There’s a reason Las Vegas is a huge convention destination. The only thing better than family togetherness is family separateness. Beyond that, family time is complicated in Las Vegas. Most folks in the casino industry work on holidays. Many work graveyard shifts, so they are going to bed as their families are just waking up. Traditional Christmas celebrations just aren’t congruous with Las Vegas, sorry.

9. Careful, Santa, Nevada Has Liberal Gun Laws

Nevada still has some strong ties to its rootin’-tootin’ roots, which includes very liberal gun laws (open carry, no registration required). On the bright side, automatic weapons are prohibited for toddlers unless they take a five-minute training course and are able to operate the weapons without assistance, so there’s that. Given how many people own guns in Vegas, the idea of a dude walking on rooftops or sliding into homes through chimneys just isn’t a scenario likely to end well here.

Las Vegas Christmas stocking
Christmas and Las Vegas just doesn’t feel right.

10. Old Men Distributing Gifts Is Common in Las Vegas

While we’re on the subject of old guys giving out gifts, that’s nothing special in Las Vegas at all. They’re called sugar daddies.

11. Las Vegas Doesn’t Nutcrack

“The Nutcracker” ballet is a popular holiday tradition, but Las Vegas doesn’t really do ballet, or arts in general. Our dancing generally involves poles. Yes, there’s probably a performance of “The Nutcracker,” somewhere, but nobody has ever attended because such performances conflict with slot tournaments. Las Vegas isn’t a ballet place. It’s not an art place overall, despite people constantly saying otherwise. In Las Vegas, if there’s art, it’s marketing. In Las Vegas, the fat lady never sings, because the party’s never over. Which is possibly an opera thing, but we also don’t do that.

12. Christmas Gifts Pale by Comparison to Jackpots

On a fundamental level, Christmas doesn’t work in Las Vegas because of gifts. Gifts on Christmas are a huge deal in many places. Shopping is a huge deal. People make lists of gifts, seek them out, get into fistfights acquiring them, the whole nine. But the best Christmas present you’ve ever gotten can’t hold a candle to a slot machine handpay. No bow required.

Las Vegas wants to Christmas so bad, it overcompensates and just seems thirsty.

There you have it, and our list is just scratches the surface of why Las Vegas and Christmas aren’t cozy.

Sites like Wallethub can do their drive-by analysis of Las Vegas, but if you know, you know. Bakeries, toy stores and food banks per capita? Come on.

Las Vegas is much more about spirits than the Christmas spirit.

While many partake in “Crapsmas” (playing craps on Christmas day), that’s hardly observing Christmas.

The rest of the world needs an excuse to drink and indulge and feel joyful and believe in magical things. Revelry and fantasy are the natural state of being in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is Christmas every day of the year, so Christmas itself doesn’t really have a fighting chance.

Also, Merry Christmas! While we may not think Christmas is a good fit in Las Vegas, we also aren’t a robot. And we like presents, cookies and possibly toddy, despite having no idea what that actually is.