The ‘Christmas’ season, also called the holiday season especially in the ‘United States’ and ‘Canada’, the festive season, or simply the holidays, is an annually recurring period recognized in many ‘Western’ and ‘Western-influenced’ countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January, defined as incorporating at least ‘Christmas’ and usually ‘New Year’, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals. Originally, the term “Christmas season” was considered synonymous with ‘Christmastide’, a term itself derived from ‘Yuletide’, which runs from December 25 ‘Christmas Day’ to January 6 ‘Epiphany’, popularly known as the ’12 Days of Christmas’.
Beginning in the mid-20th century, as the Christian-associated ‘Christmas’ holiday became increasingly secularized and central to ‘American’ economics and culture while religio-multicultural sensitivity rose, generic references to the season that omitted the word “Christmas” became more common in the corporate and public sphere of the ‘United States’, which has caused a semantics controversy that continues to the present.
The tradition of celebrating the birth of ‘Christ’ on the 25th of December appears to date from the 4th century when ‘Christianity’ was adopted as the official religion of the ‘Roman Empire’. In the ‘Christian’ tradition the ‘Christmas’ season is a period beginning on ‘Christmas Day’ 25 December. In some churches the season continues until the day before the ‘Epiphany’, which is celebrated either on 6 January or on the Sunday between 2 and 8 January. In other churches it continues until the feast of the ‘Baptism of the Lord’, which falls on the sunday following the ‘Epiphany’, or on the monday following the ‘Epiphany’ if the ‘Epiphany’ is moved to 7 or 8 January.
In the United States the holiday season “is generally considered to begin with the day after Thanksgiving and end after New Year’s Day”.