Christmas Season Mass Times
When does Christmas end? It depends. If you are asking about the social celebration in the United States, it comes to an end on Christmas Day. Stores take down their decorations. “After-Christmas” sales begin. Holiday music disappears from radio stations. And in many homes, people pull down the tree, package up the manger, and tuck away the stockings.
Food is about the only thing left. You’ll probably still have Christmas cookies and leftovers from the big family dinner. But otherwise, evidence of Christmas goes into hiding until sometime next autumn.
It’s different at church. Most Catholic churches in the United States leave their Christmas decorations up through the end of the liturgical Christmas season, extend from Christmas Day through the solemnities of Mary, Mother of God (December 31); Epiphany (the following Sunday); and Baptism of the Lord (usually the Sunday after Epiphany, but in some years the very next day). The priest and deacon will not switch from white to green vestments until Ordinary Time begins in earnest after observing the Baptism of the Lord.
This is why you may still see poinsettias and other decorations lasting well into January – but only at church. The decorations are one way that we express our complete belief in the meaning of this day. We have too much to celebrate on December 25. To grasp the full meaning of that day, we extend Christmastime well into January.
You could do the same at your home. Leave some decorations in place – both inside and outside the house. Let your home be a place where Christmas is too big to be restricted to one day. Let the spirit of the season extend into the new year, spreading its joy that Christ is born for us.