Christmas Eve 2017
In 2017, Christmas Eve will be observed on Sunday, December 24. Christmas Eve falls on the same date each year.
When Do We Celebrate Christmas Eve?
Christmas Eve occurs on the same date, December 24, year after year. The next day, Christmas Day always falls on December 25 and is in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas Eve is an anticipatory celebration for Christmas Day. Alternatively, Orthodox Christian churches observe Christmas Eve on January 5 or 6 due to a discrepancy between the dates of the Gregorian and Julian calendars.
The first recorded instance of Christmas being celebrated was in 336 A.D. We assume that Christmas Eve festivities occurred at the same time or a few years after.
Sometimes when Christmas Eve falls on a weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) it is technically observed by workplaces on the following Monday.
Why Do We Celebrate Christmas Eve?
For Christians, Christmas Eve is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah who was sent by God to die for their sins. Though Jesus is said to be born on Christmas Day (December 25), he was born at night, so many churches, especially the Catholic church, have late or midnight services.
The exchange of gifts is a significant part of Christmas Eve celebrations around the world. Christians do this to symbolize the three kings who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Non-Christians give gifts to show their love for one another. Often, a figure referred to as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or a similar name brings gifts for children in the night if they have behaved well all year.
Many cultures celebrate Christmas Eve with a family feast. Though the specific dishes eaten and rules of the dinner vary, most agree that the meal should involve many courses and last long into the night. In the US, goose, ham, or turkey are often a key part of the Christmas Eve meal.