Saturday is Christmas Eve, Sunday is Christmas Day: Here’s What’s Open and What’s Closed

Sufganiyot, eaten around the world on Hanukkah, are a cross between a beignet and a jelly donut.

By Jesse Sokolow on 20 December 2022
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Sunday is Christmas, a holiday that once again will – at least in some homes – be marked by smaller celebrations in order to keep friends and family safe from the coronavirus.

While people in English-speaking countries greet one another with Happy or Merry Christmas, the greeting in Austria and Germany is Frohe Weihnachten, and in France it is Joyeux Noël.

The Yuletide – an archaic term for the holiday – is a religious and cultural celebration for billions of people. Indeed, it is the world’s most celebrated holiday, although Orthodox Christians in central and eastern Europe celebrate the holiday on January 7 of the following year.

It’s also worth noting that most religion scholars agree that Christians borrowed the date of December 25 from the ancient Roman holiday that celebrates the winter solstice.

In addition to Christmas Day on Sunday, Saturday is Christmas Eve, observed in some countries as a full or partial holiday as well, and Monday is Boxing Day, a holiday that has its origins in giving gifts to the poor but later became a major shopping day.  Meanwhile, Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday which commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the second century BCE, began the evening of December 18 and will end the evening of December 26.

The day after Christmas is Stefanitag in Austria and Germany. St. Stephen’s Day is a public holiday in those countries as well as many others, and it is also the Second Day of Christmas or Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag.  Celebrations vary by country and include ceremonial horseback rides and the blessing of horses.

Since both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on a weekend, many people will likely begin their holiday celebrations on the preceding Friday, and Monday is a federal holiday in the United States as a result.

The Christmas holiday is celebrated religiously by Christians, culturally by others, and it forms an integral part of the holiday season that is largely centered on it.

This is the third year in a row that millions of people across the globe are being told by health and government officials to limit celebrations to people in their immediate household, saving visits to family and friends until the pandemic is well under control.

The celebrations and customs associated with Christmas in various countries have a mix of pagan, Christian, and secular themes and origins.  In addition, the closely related figures of Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholaus, and Christkind are part of most countries’ celebrations and the tradition that they bring children gifts.

Even in countries such as Japan, where the population of Christians is tiny, many have adopted some traditions such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas trees.

Here’s what you need to know about what’s open for business and operating in the United States – and what isn’t – on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

SHOPS. Stores will be open on Friday and on Christmas Eve although they will likely close early on the latter.  Most will likely be closed on Christmas Day and open on Monday.  Check store hours before heading out.  Drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS and convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Wawa will be open.

RESTAURANTS.  Many restaurants will be open Christmas Eve, but will be closing early.  Most will close on Christmas Day. However, many restaurants that are part of large chains, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, and Starbucks, will be open, as will many Denny’s and International House of Pancakes locations.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES All Federal government offices are closed on Monday, as will be almost all city and state offices.

POST OFFICE Regular service on Friday and on Christmas Eve but there will be no regular mail delivery on Christmas Day except for Priority Mail Express, formerly known as Express Mail, nor on Monday. Regular service resumes on Tuesday.

PACKAGE DELIVERY SERVICES UPS and FedEx will deliver packages on Friday and Saturday but there will be no delivery or pick-up services on Christmas Day.  UPS will not have regular pick-up or delivery services on Monday but it will offer its Express Critical service, however, on Sunday and Monday, while FedEx will offer most services including FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery on Monday although FedEx Express will not be operating that day.

BANKS Financial institutions will close early on Saturday and remain closed on Sunday and Monday.

SCHOOLS Closed due to winter recess.

FINANCIAL MARKETS The nation’s stock and bond markets will close at 1p.m. EDT on Friday and reopen on Tuesday.

TRANSPORTATION Most local transportation systems, such as buses, subways, and commuter rails, will operate on Sunday or holiday schedules on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Some will offer extra rush-hour trains on Friday in the late afternoon and early evening.  Airports will be open.  Expect traffic on the roads starting as early as Thursday afternoon as people head to their destinations.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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