Is Christmas Eve a Federal Holiday?

Christmas, the major festive celebration, is a federal holiday in the U.S. This means many government offices are not open on the day and certain private businesses may also be closed.

But what about Christmas Eve, the day before the big holiday? Do employees get December 24 off as well?

Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday. But this year, December 24 serves as the official day of observance for Christmas, since December 25 falls on a Saturday in 2021.

"If the holiday falls during the weekend, the government may observe it on a different day," says USA.gov, an official U.S. government website.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), for federal employees, when a holiday falls on a "nonworkday"—Saturday or Sunday—it is typically observed on either the day before or after.

If the holiday lands on a Sunday, it is officially observed on the Monday after it, while if it falls on a Saturday, it is marked on the Friday before it.

Since Christmas in 2021 is on a Saturday, the day is officially observed on Christmas Eve this year. Therefore, most workers are able to take December 24 as an official day in 2021, even though Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday.

Are Businesses Open on Christmas Eve?

Many retailers are open on Christmas Eve, so those who still need to can do some very last-minute shopping for Christmas presents. But many stores may be operating on a reduced schedule on December 24. Contact your local shop to confirm exact times before visiting the venues.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will not be operating on Christmas Eve in observance of Christmas, as it is "treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes" this year.

Some FedEx services will be available on December 24 but may be on a modified schedule. See the FedEx website for more information.

UPS will also be operating a normal delivery service on Christmas Eve, apart from some exceptions. See the UPS website for details.

Some banks, such as the Federal Reserve, may be open on Christmas Eve. The Federal Reserve website says: "For holidays falling on Saturday, Federal Reserve Banks and Branches will be open the preceding Friday."

Other Federal Holidays in the U.S.

Below is a list of other federal holidays in the country.

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January)
  • Washington's Birthday (Third Monday in February)
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Juneteenth (June 19)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
  • Columbus Day (Second Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
Signage showing holiday store hours in California.
Signage announcing the holiday hours at a store in Walnut Creek, California, pictured in December 2019. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images