Tuesday, January 2, 2024

News Flash: It’s STILL Christmas Season!

OK, I know what you’re thinking: the holidays are over. After four or five weeks of anticipating the Christmas/New Year’s festivities — four or five weeks of non-stop blinking lights and Christmas music and shopping — boom! It all came and went in a heartbeat. And now it’s over. 

In many people’s minds, this current moment, during the first days of the new year, can be somewhat anticlimactic and even a little depressing. The big build-up, which began at Thanksgiving (or on Labor Day, if you’re in the retail business) and culminated on Christmas Day morning, arrived and then disappeared into history before we knew it. It makes a lot of folks feel kind of empty.
Well, have I got good news for you! The Christmas season is NOT over yet. No matter what our modern culture tells us, Christmas has not ended. 

You see, the way it works — as determined by the people who brought the world Christmas in the first place, the Catholic Church — the liturgical season of Christmas does not even begin until the evening of December 24th. The four-week period before Christmas Day, which the culture calls the “holiday season,” is a completely different liturgical season on the Church calendar known as Advent. 

So, the Christmas season begins on Christmas. Then it continues for the next 12 days. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase: “The 12 Days of Christmas”? It’s an actual liturgical season, not just an annoying and never-ending holiday song about pipers and drummers and golden rings and birds in a pear tree.

Even though our culture tells us that the holiday season is long gone (and Valentine’s Day must be right around the corner, based on what’s on the store shelves now), please don’t believe it. We are still in the middle of the Christmas season, and we will be until January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany.

Therefore, enjoy Christmas! The season is still with us! Whatever you do, do not take down your tree yet. (We used to live in a neighborhood where some of our neighbors would deposit the sad remains of their stripped Christmas tree out on the curb for the trashman — on the morning of December 26th! Just when the Christmas season was getting started! How sad.)
Keep your Christmas lights plugged in and blinking. Drink some eggnog. Have some figgy pudding (if you’re into British fruitcake). Listen to Christmas music, especially the religious carols. Keep your creche prominently displayed in your home, and say some prayers in front of it. Best of all, you can do these little things to keep the Christmas season alive, and not have to worry about buying gifts. 

Speaking of buying gifts, since we’re still in the Christmas season but no one at the mall knows it, this is a terrific time to do a little shopping. The atmosphere in the stores is not nearly as crazy as it was during December. And items like Christmas decorations are usually on sale, marked down anywhere from 50% to 80%. Why not stock up on strings of lights, artificial trees, ornaments, creche displays, or any other holiday decoration you might want to display next year?

Or maybe you can use the gift cards you received on Christmas Day, before you forget you even have them. Did you know approximately 47% of all Americans have gift cards they’ve never used or which still have a balance on them? What a waste of money.

If you don’t want to stock up on Christmas trinkets for next year, or if you have no need to buy something on sale for yourself, this would be a great time to make a donation to an organization like a homeless shelter, food kitchen, or pregnancy care center. 
There are a lot of things you can do to keep the Christmas spirit alive, especially since we still are in the Christmas season. Most of all, what we all ought to do during the remaining days of the liturgical season of Christmas is to remember the “reason for the season.” Christmas is the celebration of the Incarnation, that unique, miraculous moment in history when the Son of God took on human flesh. He did it to provide a way for sinful mankind to be reconciled with our Creator.

So, continue to enjoy the Christmas season. And each day until January 6th, don’t hesitate to greet people with a joyful “Merry Christmas!”


  1. Advent isn't a different season than the Christmas season....it is part of it. I may be an atheist but one of my favorite things is Three Kings Day....which does indeed come onJan 6th. I love the image of the 3 three kings, Caspar, Balthazar & Melchior coming to Baby Jesus with their gifts....and their camels. I love the camels. The Hispanic community in Hartford does a great parade very year and the give out gifts at a community to the little children. Try and go if you can. Ruth O'Keefe

  2. Someone having their tree out on the curb the day after Christmas is not sad. It is a family that celebrates Christmas in a different way than you do. You do not have the right to either define the Christmas season or to choose for others how to celebrate it. That is up to each family to choose for themselves. Ruth O'Keefe

  3. The Christmas season is actually from the First Sunday of Advent to the Feast of the Three Kings on Jan. 6th
    Ruth O'Keefe