Christmas Eve falls the day before Christmas Day on December 24. While not a federal holiday, Christmas Eve marks the start of the holiday season at the end of the year.
Christmas Eve is reserved for holiday celebrations and buying last minute gifts, as retailers are open. Children hang their stockings on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa Clause, a mythical symbol of Christmas. He is said to enter the house in the late evening of Christmas Eve, through the chimney, and fill the stockings with gifts.
Many Christians attend religious services on Christmas Eve. Midnight mass starts as Christmas Eve ends and Christmas Day starts. Many churches also hold services in the late afternoon and early evening on Christmas Eve.