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Christmas Eve & Day Guide: Celebrating, Dining, and Shopping

    Christmas Eve & Day Guide

    As the festive season unfolds, navigating Christmas Eve and Day for dining, shopping, and celebrating becomes crucial. This guide combines detailed information on store and restaurant hours with traditional and creative ideas for a memorable holiday.

    Detailed Shopping Hours for Christmas Eve

    Essential Retail Hours

    Target: Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., perfect for last-minute gifts.

    Big Lots: Available until 7 p.m. for your holiday needs.

    Walmart: Welcoming shoppers until 6 p.m.

    Best Buy: Ideal for tech gifts, open until 7 p.m.

    BJ’s and Sam’s Club: Check these wholesalers for regular Christmas Eve hours.

    Costco: Open until 5 p.m. for bulk purchases.

    Grocery Store Times

    Kroger: Regular hours, but check your local store for specifics.

    Food Lion and Sprouts: Open until 6 p.m. and 7 p.m..

    Whole Foods: Varies by location; some are open on Christmas Eve.

    PetSmart: For pet-related needs, open until 6 p.m.

    Festive Dining Options

    Restaurants and Eateries

    Regular Hours:

    • Outback Steakhouse
    • KFC

    Holiday Hours Vary by Location:

    • Popeyes
    • Firehouse Subs
    • Texas Roadhouse

    Special Hours on Holiday:

    • PF Chang’s: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Fogo de Chão: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
    • Chili’s Grill and Bar: Closing at 6 p.m. (most locations)
    • White Castle: Closing between 5 – 8 p.m.
    • Zaxby’s: Some may close as early as 2 p.m.
    • Whataburger: All closing at 6 p.m.
    • Maggiano’s: Most closing at 6 p.m.

    24/7 Dining Options:

    • IHOP
    • Waffle House

    Fast Food with Variable Hours:

    • McDonald’s
    • Taco Bell
    • KFC (also under regular hours)

    Coffee Shops with Varying Hours:

    • Starbucks
    • Dunkin’ Donuts

    Sit-Down Dining with Special Holiday Hours:

    • Applebee’s
    • Cracker Barrel
    • Additional restaurants with varied hours

    Check Store and Restaurant Hours

    It’s wise to remember that holiday hours can differ significantly from regular hours. This is especially true for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when many businesses adjust their schedules. To avoid disappointment, checking the hours of your desired store or restaurant before you head out is crucial. Websites and customer service hotlines are great resources for the most up-to-date information.


    Christmas Eve is rich with various traditions that bring families and communities together. Here are some popular ones:

    Making a Christmas Toast: A way to celebrate and express gratitude for the year that has passed and the festivity ahead.

    Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A romantic tradition symbolizing love and friendship.

    White Elephant Gift Exchange: A fun and engaging way to exchange gifts where items can be stolen or swapped.

    Crafting Homespun Ornaments: A creative activity that adds a personal touch to your Christmas tree.

    Leaving Cookies and Milk for Santa: A delightful tradition, especially for children, to leave treats for Santa Claus.

    Taking a Carriage Ride: A nostalgic and charming way to enjoy the holiday lights and decorations.

    Writing Riddles on Each Present: Adds an element of mystery and fun to gift-giving.

    Hanging a New Symbolic Ornament: Each year, adding a new ornament representing a significant event or sentiment from the past year.


    What to do on Christmas Eve can vary, but here are some popular choices:

    Christmas Movie Marathon: Gather to watch classic and beloved holiday films.

    Playing Family Games: A great way to bond and have fun with the whole family.

    Baking Christmas Cookies: A delicious and enjoyable activity for all ages.

    Attend a Candlelight Service: Many find attending a church service on Christmas Eve a meaningful way to celebrate.

    Christmas Caroling: Go caroling in your neighborhood or join a local group.

    Holiday Crafting: Make DIY Christmas cards or decorations.

    Christmas Story Time: Read classic Christmas stories or the Nativity story.

    Holiday Light Tour: Drive around to view neighborhood Christmas lights.

    Christmas Puzzle: Work on a festive-themed jigsaw puzzle.

    Ice Skating: Ice skating can be a joyful activity if weather permits.


    What to eat on Christmas Eve can include a variety of festive dishes:

    Gratin of Fresh and smoked Salmon: A luxurious and flavorful dish.

    Spiced Pomegranate & Orange Glazed Ham: Adds a positive twist to traditional ham.

    Festive Seafood Sharing Platter: A light and elegant option for Christmas Eve dining.

    Red Velvet Brownies and Salted Caramel Crispy Rudolphs: Sweet treats for dessert lovers.

    Roast Beef or Pork Loin: A hearty main dish for a festive meal.

    Vegetable Casseroles: Like green bean or sweet potato casserole.

    Mulled Wine or Cider: A warm, spiced beverage for the adults.

    Stuffed Mushrooms or Shrimp Cocktail: Elegant appetizers.

    Christmas Trifle or Yule Log Cake: For a show-stopping dessert.

    Fondue (Cheese or Chocolate): A fun and interactive eating experience.

    Name Origin

    The term “Christmas Eve” refers to ‘the day before Christmas’. The word ‘eve’ is an old English word that means ‘the evening or day before’ any event.


    What to say to people on Christmas Eve can be heartfelt or festive:

    “Have a joyful Christmas Eve.”

    “May this Christmas Eve fill your heart with the love of God.”

    “Wishing you a sparkling Christmas Eve with peace, hope, and love.”

    Wishing you a magical and blissful holiday! Have a merry Christmas Eve!”

    “May the joy and peace of Christmas be with you tonight and throughout the new year.”

    “On this silent and holy night, may the wonders of Christmas surround you.”

    “Christmas Eve is a time of joy and celebration. Enjoy every merry moment!”


    Innovative ways to celebrate Christmas Eve:

    1. Making a Gingerbread House: This can be a fun and creative activity post-cookie baking.
    2. DIY Decorations: Engage in crafting unique decorations for your home.
    3. Virtual Gatherings: For those away from family, a virtual meetup can bring everyone closer.
    4. Christmas Eve Box: A small gift box with pajamas, a movie, or a book, given on Christmas Eve.
    5. Holiday Baking Challenge: Have a friendly competition with family members.
    6. Christmas Karaoke Night: Sing your favorite holiday songs.
    7. DIY Photo Booth: Set up a Christmas-themed photo booth with props.
    8. Volunteer: Spend some time giving back to the community.
    9. Create a Time Capsule: Fill it with memories from the year to open next Christmas.
    10. Virtual Dinner Party: Host a dinner with friends or family over video call.

    Additional Tips for a Joyful Holiday

    Travel and Health: Plan for safe travel and adhere to any prevailing health guidelines.

    Kindness and Patience: Extend courtesy to staff and fellow customers during this busy time.

    Cherish the Moment: Take time to enjoy the holiday atmosphere and the company of loved ones.


    This Christmas Eve and Day, whether you’re wrapping up your shopping, savoring a festive meal, or indulging in cherished traditions, this guide aims to make your experience smooth, joyful, and filled with holiday spirit. Happy holidays!

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