Of all the months, December is perhaps most packed to the rafters with celebrations, holidays, and memorial observances. There’s something for us all — merry, bright, and everything in between!
This year, Hanukkah began on November 28 and runs through December 6. Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting and plenty of food. Learn more about Hanukkah here.
The longest night of the year is on Tuesday, December 21. The winter solstice — or hibernal solstice — has long been associated with festivals and gatherings celebrating death and rebirth during the darkest time of the year. Until fairly recently (historically speaking), this time of year was celebrated with spooky stories and characters (akin to the ghosts in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” published in 1843).
The day also marks the official start of winter. If you’re really not into winter, and the idea of starting another one depresses you, take heart: From here on out, the days begin to grow longer, culminating in the official beginning of spring on March 20, 2022 (at 11:33 a.m. EDT to be exact). So there’s that. Optimism!
If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you know all about Festivus, which falls on December 23. Let the Airing of Grievances begin!
Aside from being a religious holiday for Christians around the world, December 25 marks the day when kids who didn’t get any sleep the night before will tear into brightly colored packages brought to them by a rather large fellow with a penchant for red robes and reindeer. It’s an enduring mystery how this guy manages to squeeze down chimneys.
Kwanzaa is a week-long African American and pan-African holiday observed December 26 – January 1. The holiday celebrates family, community, and culture through music, dance, poetry, feasts, and charitable works. Learn more about Kwanzaa here.
Bacon Day and New Year’s Eve
And, of course, we wrap up the month with two of the most celebratory days of the year — Bacon Day on December 30 (alright, maybe that’s only a big deal for a few of us afflicted with bacon mania), and New Year’s Eve on December 31. The latter is when we commemorate the closing of one year and welcome a new one, whether it’s by watching a large ball make its descent in New York’s Times Square (or a large, odd-looking potato in Boise, Idaho), or by toasting the occasion with a glass of bubbly, it’s a momentous occasion, provided you can stay awake until midnight.
December holidays and celebrations
- December 1: Rosa Parks Day
- December 2: National Mutt Day
- December 3: Make a Gift Day
- December 4: Santa’s List Day
- December 5: International Volunteer Day
- December 6: Last Day of Hanukkah (began on November 28)
- December 7: National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
- December 8: Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day
- December 9: Christmas Card Day
- December 10: Human Rights Day
- December 11: National App Day
- December 12: National Poinsettia Day
- December 13: National Violin Day
- December 14: Roast Chestnuts Day
- December 15: Bill of Rights Day
- December 16: Boston Tea Party Day
- December 17: Wright Brothers’ First Flight Anniversary
- December 18: National Twin Day
- December 19: National Oatmeal Muffin Day
- December 20: Go Caroling Day
- December 21: First Day of Winter/Winter Solstice
- December 22: National Date Nut Bread Day
- December 23: Festivus
- December 24: Christmas Eve
- December 25: Christmas Day
- December 26: Boxing Day, First Day of Kwanzaa
- December 27: National Fruitcake Day
- December 28: National Card Playing Day
- December 29: Tick Tock Day
- December 30: Bacon Day
- December 31: New Year’s Eve
Weekly celebrations during December
- Hanukkah* (changes yearly and lasts for eight days)
- Tolerance Week (first full week)
- Human Rights Week (second week)
- Kwanzaa (December 26–January 1)
However and whatever you celebrate, we hope your December is filled with joy!