How Do Catholics Celebrate Christmas?

Catholics celebrate Christmas by attending mass on the holy days of obligation on Christmas day (December 25th) and on Mother Mary's feast day (January 1st), as well as celebrating with Advent candles, nativity scenes and family celebrations. Many Catholics may also choose to put up a Christmas tree and hang Christmas lights.

In the time leading up to Christmas, the Catholic Church celebrates advent. Advent is a necessary part of the Christmas season because it is the time when Catholics repent for their sins and perform penance. They want to be as pure as they can be when Christmas comes, in order to receive the gift of God's presence at the Christmas mass of Holy Eucharist. During Advent, there are four candles that are lit each week before Christmas.

On Christmas day, families attend church and receive the Holy Eucharist. They celebrate the birth of Christ and the church is typically decorated with a nativity scene and other lavish decorations, in stark contrast to the decoration-less advent season. There are also additional feasts that take place during the Christmas season, such as the Feast of the Holy Family, the Epiphany (also known as the Three Kings Day) and the Baptism of Our Lord. Other saints are celebrated on feast days during the season as well, including St. Francis Xavier, St. Nicholas, Blessed Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucy, St. John of the Cross, St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, the Holy Innocents and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.