The Feast of Christmas is an 8-day Octave, i.e., we party for 8 days, while the Christmas season lasts from Christmas Day until Epiphany, Jan 6 (celebrated in the U.S. on Jan 3 this year). All that time between Thanksgiving and the 24th of December was Advent -- different season.
[St. Mary Cathedral] Again, so why celebrate for eight days? Life in the ancient world was so hectic and filled with pressure and families had grown apart and were being swept up in the older pagan traditions, the Church granted a period of eight days in order to contemplate the mysteries experienced in the Church’s liturgy. Comparatively speaking, we obviously need the Octave even more than the Christians of the ancient world!For the whole 12 days of Christmas catechism song thing, see here.
The ancient world did not have television, shopping malls, computers, telephones, fast food, automobiles, magazines and newspapers… if the Ancients were busily distracted, what has become of us!? We need to enjoy this time! If you need, take off work, visit family, feast, attend Mass, praise God, visit the poor, celebrate charity, and most of all be humbled before the Mystery: The Word of God has become man!
So, if anyone asks "How was your Christmas?", you tell 'em it ain't over yet.
You got to know your seasons, people! ;-)