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

By Jesse Sokolow on 23 December 2021
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Saturday is Christmas, a holiday that once again will 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.  Meanwhile, the holiday is a religious and cultural celebration for billions of people.

In addition to Christmas Day on Saturday, Friday is Christmas Eve, observed in some countries as a full or partial holiday as well, and Sunday is Boxing Day, a holiday that has its origins in giving gifts to the poor but later became a major shopping day.

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.

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 second 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 and Saturday.

SHOPS. Stores will be open on Christmas Eve although they will likely close early.  They will likely be closed on Christmas Day.  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 closing early.  Most will be closed 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 Friday, as will be almost all city and state offices.

POST OFFICE Regular service on Christmas Eve but no regular mail delivery on Christmas Day except for Priority Mail Express, formerly known as Express Mail. Regular service resumes on Monday.

PACKAGE DELIVERY SERVICES UPS and FedEx will deliver packages on Friday but there will be no delivery or pick-up services on Christmas Day.

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

SCHOOLS Closed due to winter recess.

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

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

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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