Second Day of Christmas

As the name suggests, The Second Day of Christmas is the second day of the 12 Days of Christmas and is celebrated annually on December 26th. Although Christmas is a holiday that’s celebrated as just one day (or two days if you count Christmas Eve), for many people, it’s only the beginning of the actual Christmas season or Christmastide.

This holiday is known as Tweede Kerstdag in the Netherlands, Boxing Day in the UK, and Zweiter Weihnachtstag in Germany. In Western Christianity, December 26 also marks Saint Stephen’s Day or the Feast of Saint Stephen.

The 12 Days of Christmas

In Christianity, the 12 Days of Christmas is the period that marks the span between the birth of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Magi, commonly known as the Three Wise Men. This period starts on December 25, the day on which Jesus’ birthday is celebrated, and runs through January 5th.

During this time, some families choose to observe the feast day of various saints such as Saint Stephen and continue to exchange gifts. For many people in the U.S., December 26th marks the end of the Christmas season.

The Celebrations & Feast Days Associated with the 12 Days of Christmas

Although it’s not possible for us to include every celebration or feast day that occurs on each of the 12 Days of Christmas, we can go over some of the most common ones. Let’s take a look at each one of them below.

  • Day 1 (Dec. 25): Christmas Day.
  • Day 2 (Dec. 26): Boxing Day, St. Stephen’s Day, Second Christmas Day, The Second Day of Christmas.
  • Day 3 (Dec. 27): The Feast Day of Saint John.
  • Day 4 (Dec. 28): The Feast of Holy Innocents.
  • Day 5 (Dec. 29): St. Thomas Becket.
  • Day 6 (Dec. 30): St. Egwin of Worcester.
  • Day 7 (Dec. 31): Pope Sylvester I, New Year’s Eve, Silvester.
  • Day 8 (Jan. 1): The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
  • Day 9 (Jan. 2): St. Gregory Nazianzen & St. Basil the Great.
  • Day 10 (Jan. 3): Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
  • Day 11 (Jan. 4): St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
  • Day 12 (Jan.5): Epiphany Eve, St. Simeon Stylites the Elder.

Observing The Second Day of Christmas

The Second Day of Christmas is observed in several different ways. For some people, it’s a day on which they continue to exchange gifts with friends and family, give gifts to the poor, or use it as a shopping holiday. For others, it might be a day to attend religious services.

In Sweden, Second Christmas Day is enjoyed with carols, exchanging presents, and enjoying a smorgasbord. The typical Second Christmas Day feast in Sweden includes ham or pork sausage, herring salad, liver pâté, rye bread, and eggs with anchovies on crispbread (gubbröra).

Where is it celebrated?
Bulgaria (National holiday)Denmark (National holiday)Iceland (National holiday) Show all
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 26 Thursday
Next year (2025)
December 26 Friday
Last year (2023)
December 26 Tuesday