In the US, most businesses take Christmas Day as a national holiday, and many go back to work on 12/26. Not so in many other countries. In fact this year, 67 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe, have a holiday on 12/26 in lieu of Christmas day and a further 22 will take 12/27 as a holiday also.
But we’re not done there. A further 30 countries have one or more days’ holiday during the last two weeks of the year, from Qatar’s National Day on December 18, to the celebration of Chanukah in Israel on December 25, to Azerbaijan’s World Solidarity Day on New Year’s Eve (along with 18 other countries taking that day off.) Earlier in the month, 24 countries observe Muhammad’s birthday on December 11/12, and 12 observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. In practice, most countries are more or less “off work” between 22nd December and the first Tuesday of the new year. Let’s face it, no one really works during the holidays.
With so many companies gearing up for new budgets, new hires and new launches in January, the lesson learned is to wrap up as early as possible in the month, as it is likely that local offices will be closed for holidays not on the US calendar.