This year, 2021, Christmas Eve – Friday, December 24, 2021 – is a Federal holiday. However, 2021 is an exception. Because, according to Federal law, Christmas Eve is not a legal or permanent holiday. Let’s elaborate.
According to Federal law (5 U.S.C. 6103), there are 11 Federal holidays. Up until 2021, there were 10 Federal holidays. In June 2021, President Biden signed legislation that made June 19 another Federal holiday.
These 11 legal Federal holidays are –
- New Year’s Day, January 1.
- Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
- Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
- Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
- Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19.
- Independence Day, July 4.
- Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
- Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
- Veterans Day, November 11.
- Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
- Christmas Day, December 25.
As we see, according to the law, Christmas Eve is not a Federal holiday. Only December 25 – Christmas day is a federal holiday. So, how come in 2021 Christmas Eve is a Federal holiday? Let’s explain.
Most Federal employees work on a Monday through Friday schedule. However, when a Federal holiday falls on Saturday, it is observed one day early on Friday. Similarly, when a Federal holiday falls on Sunday, it is celebrated one day late on Monday.
We can see that this year Christmas day, December 25, falls on Saturday. According to the rules described above, this year, we will observe the Christmas holiday on Friday, December 24. It’s why in 2021, Christmas Eve is a Federal holiday.
Interestingly, In 2022, Monday, December 26 would be a Federal holiday because December 25 is Sunday.
Here is a table for the Christmas holiday until 2030.
|Year||Christmas Holiday Date|
|2021||Friday, December 24|
|2022||Monday, December 26|
|2023||Monday, December 25|
|2024||Wednesday, December 25|
|2025||Thursday, December 25|
|2026||Friday, December 25|
|2027||Friday, December 24|
|2028||Monday, December 25|
|2029||Tuesday, December 25|
|2030||Wednesday, December 25|
However, private companies and states are not required to observe Federal holidays. But the States, local governments, and many private businesses are also closed these days.
In 2020, then-president Donald Trump signed an executive order to declare December 24, 2020, a Federal holiday. But that executive order was only for December 24, 2020. Thus, Christmas Eve is still not a legal Federal holiday.
Is Christmas Eve going to be a Federal holiday?
There are no active bills either on the House or Senate floor to make Christmas Eve a holiday. Therefore, we don’t see any chance of Christmas Eve becoming a Federal holiday officially for the foreseeable future. However, as we said earlier, if a Christmas day falls on Saturday, we will observe Christmas Eve as a Federal holiday.