Is your congregation planning services on Christmas and New Year’s Day? If so, you are part of a strong majority who plan to do so, according to a LifeWay Research report published December 13.

Both holidays fall on a Sunday for the first time since 2016, and most Protestant congregations plan to hold services on both days.

Most pastors say their church will have services on Christmas Day (84%) and on New Year’s Day (85%). This is a five-point drop from 2016 for Christmas Day services, with the same percentage of planned New Year’s services.

On Christmas Eve, 71% of Protestant churches in the U.S. plan to hold services (the same as in 2016), while 60% will hold both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services (a three-point decline from 2016).

By comparison, 25% will only have a Christmas Day service (unchanged from 2016) and 11% will only have a Christmas Eve service (a three-point increase from 2016).

“Only 6% of Protestant churches will skip both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day services, likely including traditions that don’t meet on Sundays,” Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a press release announcing the report. “Churches that do not meet when these holidays land on Sunday often say it’s for staff and members to spend time with their families.”

Nearly half (48%) of all Protestant pastors surveyed said that Christmas Eve was the most highly attended service of the Advent and Christmas season.

The full report is available here. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Share This