President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday, making Dec. 24, 2019, Christmas Eve, a federal holiday.
The president issued the same executive order, which gives federal workers a day off with pay, in 2018.
The order states that “All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed, and their employees excused from duty on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, the day before Christmas Day.”
Only leadership can determine which offices and employees would need to remain open during the holiday for “reasons of national security, defense or other public need.”
Past presidents have never issued Christmas Eve to be a federal holiday when the day fell on Tuesday or Wednesday. In 2013, when Christmas Eve was on a Tuesday, former President Obama did not issue an executive order declaring that the day would be made a federal holiday. In fact, the government has remained open on Christmas Eve for six of the last nine times since 1946 when the holiday landed on a Wednesday.
The move came as a surprise to many and a gift that few expected, but lots of federal workers were thankful as they got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and friends.