When Does Christmas Season Start?

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While Christmas was once a much smaller celebration, with festivities only starting a few days in advance, it has now become a full-blown season. Every family has different rules about when their Christmas season starts so it can be hard to navigate the holidays.

When does the Christmas season start? Christmas may well be December 25th but there are a lot of different ways to celebrate the holiday. There is now so much to see and do that the holiday is not just about one day but about an entire season. December 1st is usually the start of the Christmas season. It allows other holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day to have their own spotlight while still allowing plenty of time for preparations. More Orthodox religions celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, which doesn’t start until December 25th.

There are those Christmas fanatics who try to push the start of Christmas as early as possible, with some starting way back on November 1st. The introduction of artificial trees has allowed people the chance to decorate whenever they want. Still, if you tire of hearing Christmas music on repeat and don’t like the clutter of decorations in your home, it’s ok to start later. Every family is different, so it’s important to celebrate Christmas how you would like.

What day marks the beginning of the Christmas season?

The most common day on which the Christmas season starts is December 1st. This gives families 25 days to prepare, decorate, and start celebrating, and for most people, this is enough.

Another common time to mark the beginning of the Christmas season is with the 12 days of Christmas. While this is now a popular song, it actually refers to celebrating the birth of Jesus.

However, the 12 days of Christmas have different start days. Some start on December 25th and end on January 5th, with others starting on December 26th. While some more mainstream Christians celebrate this way, it is more commonly held with Orthodox religions.

For consumers who like to wander the mall, there is another unofficial start to the Christmas season, and that is when they start to hear Christmas music over the speakers. While some may love finally getting to hear their favorite seasonal hits once again, others may dread the repeated refrain of Christmas carols.

Observing Christmas Day

No matter how you measure the actual season, Christmas Day is the main event. While the day has its roots in the birth of Jesus Christ, even non-secular families continue to celebrate the day.

Most often, Christmas Day starts out with opening presents. Some families have traditions where they open gifts the night before, but morning time is still the most common.

These presents are wrapped and placed under a Christmas tree and children, especially, are eager to open them all up. After presents, a late breakfast is served.

Church service often happens in the morning or mid-day on Christmas, followed, by the return home to prepare dinner. While turkey is the traditional meal, each family is different and you might find ham or prime rib as the starring meat.

Christmas is usually about being together with loved ones, so families often visit with each other, especially if there are grandparents and in-laws around town. Dinner can be a large affair, as everyone tries to gather together.

Finally, at the end of the day, everyone is exhausted. It can be hard work to socialize and cook, and if children are involved, it is most likely an early start to the day.

Christmas Decoration Preparations

Christmas tree

All Christmas trees used to be fresh, meaning you couldn’t put one up until much closer to Christmas. Now that there are artificial trees, some people actually put them up as early as November 1st.

Whatever type of tree you have, it is important to set it up and decorate it. Lots of Christmas lights and an abundance of ornaments are key. Some people decide to deck their tree with pristine decorations while others prefer an eclectic mix of homemade keepsakes.

Christmas lights

The outside of your home needs to be decorated, which is where Christmas lights come into play. Whether you want a tasteful string of white lights or a massive blow-up decoration for your front lawn, the sky’s the limit.

Advent calendar

Made to countdown to Christmas from December 1st, advent calendars come in all shapes and sizes. Kids love the ones where they get a piece of chocolate each day. There are even novelty advent calendars with Lego pieces for kids and bottles of beer for adults.

You can also make homemade advent calendars. Either craft a system of boxes or quilt a system of pouches with fabric ornaments.

Christmas baking

While not technically decorations, Christmas baking is a week-long event. Cookies and treats are made ahead of time. You can store them or give them away to friends. It’s always fun to engage in a cookie exchange and sample other people’s baking.

Is it OK to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving?

In the United States, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of the month, and it serves as an unofficial start to the Christmas season. The day after American Thanksgiving, Black Friday is a day with tons of shopping deals, and a lot of people take advantage of this to start their own Christmas shopping.

Other countries have similar unofficial Christmas season start dates. For example, Canada celebrates Remembrance Day on November 11. Many people think it is disrespectful to veterans to start the Christmas season before this date.

However, there are people who have known to start decorating before this. In recent years there has been a conscientious effort to scale back the Christmas season as many people want to enjoy Halloween and other November holidays before moving on to Christmas.


Christmas is a magical time of the year and it can last as short or long as you would like. Orthodox religions count 12 days of Christmas, starting on December 25th with the birth of Jesus Christ, while others prefer to start on December 1st.

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