The Last Mercury Retrograde of 2023 Can Complicate Your Holidays FAST. Here’s What to Know.

Do you hear what I hear? Prooobably not. Miscommunications are ahead, thanks to the last Mercury retrograde of the year, which—we’re sorry to report—begins December 13 and jams up the signals until New Year’s Day.

Joy to the world? With Mercury retrograde during holiday and New Year’s celebrations, end-of-year plans could get complicated fast.

We hate to sound like galactic Grinches, but it’s our duty to inform you that Mercury will indeed be retrograde during the 2023 holidays. Forewarned is forearmed, so mark your calendar! This last Mercury retrograde of the year goes down December 13, 2023 to January 1, 2024 at 10:08 PM EST.

And talk about a double whammy! This time, Mercury backs up through two signs: Capricorn and Sagittarius. If you have those placements in your chart (like we do), you’re likely to feel this last Mercury retrograde of the year more intensely than others. Sorry!


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December 13-23: Mercury retrograde in Capricorn

Mercury slips back through ambitious Capricorn from December 13 to 23, causing balls to drop long before Ryan Seacrest counts us down in Times Square on NYE. Leave nothing up to chance when it comes to your EOY career duties and family plans.

Our advice for hosts? Become the acting CEO of Celebrations. Set up an online hub with addresses, timelines and dishes and drinks everyone should bring to the celebration. Then, plan on sending about five follow-up texts.

Trying to knock it out of the park at work? Realign your expectations with reality. Pushing and pressuring people to perform could backfire. Use positive affirmations and praise to keep everyone moving along.

December 23-January 1: Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius

Now for something seriously unfunny. The night before Christmas Eve, Mercury backs into Sagittarius, the sign of travel and global relations. Expect even longer lines at airports, bad traffic and entitled people pushing to the front and demanding to talk to the manager.

Word to the wise: Keep politics off the holiday table as much as possible. With Mercury retrograde in global Sagittarius, these discussions could go sideways fast.

That’s not to say you CAN’T talk about important topics, but if you’re anxious about how to approach newsworthy events, we recommend a read of Scott Shigeoka’s book Seek which outlines a method for trading conflict for curiosity.

In Seek, Shigeoka combines research with storytelling to convey the DIVE model:
Detach: Let go of your ABCs (assumptions, biases, certainty)
Intend: Prepare your mindset and setting
Value: See the dignity of every person, including yourself
Embrace: Welcome the hard times in your life

Given our divisive world and sometimes dinner tables, we think Shigeoka’s model is worth a try!

Should I wait to set my New Year’s resolutions after Mercury retrograde?

Yes, but not for long! Promises rarely stick when Mercury is retrograde—and that includes the pledges you make to yourself. When the communication planet is in this low-power mode for the December 2023 retrograde, you might forget your resolve to cut out sugar and go plant-based the minute your friend shows up with whip-cream-drenched hot cocoas.

Fortunately, the first new moon of 2024 is in goal-getting Capricorn and arrives on January 11. This lunation provides a powerful launchpad for your annual intentions. Consider it a bonus New Year’s Day!

Your horoscope for the last Mercury retrograde of 2023!

Below are horoscopes for every zodiac sign for the last Mercury retrograde of 2023, from December 13, 2023 to January 1, 2024. You can read for your Sun sign or your rising sign (ascendant). Visit our Cosmic Calculator section if you want to calculate your Rising sign or discover more about your personal astrology. And follow your daily horoscopes at to never miss a detail!

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Aries (March 21-April 19)

Nothing wrong with wanting to finish 2023 on a strong note, Aries, but how many feathers do you really need to fit into your cap? Starting now, rethink a few EOY goals as Mercury flips retrograde December 13 until January 1. Because this reverse commute begins in Capricorn and your career house (until December 23), then backs into your expansive ninth until NYD, gunning your engines won’t necessarily get you ahead. Rather than spinning your wheels—or trying to chase down people who already have “holiday brain”—focus on tying up the loose ends you have control over. The rest can wait until 2024! Read more Aries horoscopes.


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Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Do you hear what THEY hear? Unlikely, Taurus, and here’s why: Communication planet Mercury spins retrograde—backing up first through your blunt ninth house (Capricorn) December 13 until December 23, then into foot-in-mouth Sagittarus before turning direct on NYD. For the rest of 2023, think twice before spiking the eggnog with truth serum, Taurus. An overly ambitious project may need to be scaled back until 2024, but if you can embrace the slower pace, you’re likely to do some great behind-the-scenes work between now and January 1. Read more Taurus horoscopes.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Easy does it with the mistletoe antics, Gemini. Your cosmic ruler Mercury spins into a signal-scrambling retrograde from December 13 until New Year’s Day. An ex could resurface while the planet creeps back through Capricorn and your eighth house of merging, through December 23. The potent chemistry will be tempting during this last Mercury retrograde of the year—but things could get complicated fast.

Keep an eye on your credit card statements and online receipts while gift-shopping. Mercury’s reversal increases the risk of identity theft and erroneous charges. When Mercury slips back into Sagittarius from December 23 to January 1, read the fine print (on the finest setting) before you agree to any collabs.  Read more Gemini horoscopes.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Aggravating astro alert: The last Mercury retrograde of the year begins in Capricorn and your partnership house (on December 13), which could send you into a minefield of misunderstandings. Explain yourself with extra patience and hold off on signing contracts. An ex could resurface or drift into your thoughts. Even if the desire for closure is strong, think twice before you reach out. With some people, the best form of resolution is keeping firm boundaries and distance. When Mercury slips into Sagittarius from December 23 until NYD, pump up the self-care and dial down the perfectionism. You can nurture people without feeling like their servant! Read more Cancer horoscopes.

Leo (July 23-August 22) 

‘Tis better to give, Leo, but not if said giving hurts. Mercury flips into an energy-flagging retrograde on December 13 that lasts until NYD. Because this last Mercury retrograde of the year begins in Capricorn and your sixth house of self-care and service (until December 23), prioritize your health over your desire to help out everyone in need. Pace yourself to avoid stress-fueled burnout. While Mercury slips back into Sagittarius and your festive fifth house from December 23 to January 1, you’ll be grateful that you rested up. That said, Lions may prefer a chill celebration this year—which may include a VIP from your past!  Read more Leo horoscopes.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Who’s the most famous reindeer of all? Watch for drama and ego battles starting December 13, as communication planet Mercury turns retrograde. The backspin begins in your competitive, dramatic fifth house (Capricorn), then rolls into your domestic fourth house from December 23 to NYD. An old flame could return, but think twice before opening that door again. The attraction may be as strong as ever, but the same old troubling issues could still be in play.

\Warning: Wires may cross with family at the worst possible time because of this last Mercury retrograde of the year. Be extra patient with relatives, and keep firm boundaries. Send out-of-town guests to an Airbnb or a local hotel instead of offering your sofa as a crash pad. Read more Virgo horoscopes.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

If your inner Grinch makes an appearance beginning December 13 for the last Mercury retrograde of the year, don’t worry that it will ruin Christmas. But DO take time to listen to your less-than-sunny feelings while mindful Mercury spins retrograde until January 1. This backspin begins in Capricorn and your sensitive fourth house until December 23, then slips into Sagittarius and your communication zone until NYD. Plan to give your inner child lots of hugs since you may be feeling especially tender during the holidays.

Gentle reminder, Libra: You can process your feelings without confronting anyone; in fact, we recommend waiting until 2024 before making any bold proclamations or binding decisions around anything home- and family-related. Read more Libra horoscopes.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

One ticket to the North Pole, please? Your patience for people could wear thin starting December 13 as Mercury spins into an ill-timed retrograde that lasts until NYD. Because the first part of the backspin (until December 23) will be in your communication zone, watch those eye rolls and snarky, under-the-breath comments, which can damage relationships.

On the plus side, reunions with old pals will be merry and bright! When Mercury slips back into Sagittarius on December 23, be more mindful of your money. Make sure your NYE plans are worth the cover price. You’ll prefer elegant simplicity over “crowded” and “complex” after X-mas. Read more Scorpio horoscopes.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Generosity doesn’t have to drain your hard-earned resources, Sagittarius, nor your physical energy, during the last Mercury retrograde of the year. As Mercury turns retrograde on December 13—first in your work and money house (Capricorn) until December 23, then back into Sagittarius and your first house of identity—guard your precious time like a temple sphinx. What you say “yes” to can become problematic if you’ve already spread yourself thin. While Mercury’s in reverse until NYD, your job is to face down FOMO and build more room to breathe into your schedule—and your budget! Read more Sagittarius horoscopes.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

Roasting chestnuts is holiday-approved. Roasting your friends and family? Think again! On December 13, mouthy Mercury spins retrograde, muddling communication until January 1. And while the messenger planet backs up through Capricorn until December 23, you might be wildly misunderstood, both in person and on social media. (Yes, even if you WERE “only joking.”)

When Mercury slips back into Sagittarius on December 23, you could have second thoughts or get cold feet about a situation that once felt promising. No need to cancel anything during this last Mercury retrograde of the year. Just hang back and observe, and use this time to reevaluate your plans. By waiting, you can gather crucial information and make a far more informed decision. Read more Capricorn horoscopes.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18) 

Settle down for that long winter’s nap—or squeeze in some shuteye where you can! Mercury slips into a low-power retrograde December 13 until January 1. Because the the first part of the backspin is in Capricorn and your foggy twelfth house, rest up! Give your brain a break and channel the muse instead. Buried emotions could come up to be processed during this last Mercury retrograde of the year. Don’t fight it, Capricorn—use this time for forgiveness work or to deal with something you’ve been avoiding. On December 23, Mercury slips back into Sagittarius and your social, fun-loving eleventh house. Enjoy some holly jolly reunions, but leave the difficult types OFF your guest list. Read more Aquarius horoscopes.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Stop! Don’t post that questionable holiday meme! Communication planet Mercury flips retrograde, scrambling signals from December 13 until NYD. Because the first part of its backspin is in your tech and community sector, keep a low profile on the socials and avoid triggering topics when you’re out for a cup of cheer. Old friends may come out of the woodwork during this last Mercury retrograde of the year, adding a joyous element to the end of 2023. Work could get complicated and busy when Mercury drifts back into your career zone on December 23. Set some boundaries, Pisces, so you don’t wind up feeling like the office martyr! Read more Pisces horoscopes.

Want more?

Learn about what happens in the weeks before and after a Mercury retrograde: Mercury Retrograde Shadow Phase: Decode the “Retroshade”

Add to your holiday prep: How to Share the Holidays with Any Zodiac Sign (Yes, Even *That* Person)

And get a head start on next year’s Mercury retrogrades! All the 2024 Mercury Retrogrades: Mark Your Calendar and Prepare to Avoid Mishaps!


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Pre-Order THE ASTROLOGY ADVANTAGE and be entered to win a chart reading. Plus: get access to exclusive bonus experiences with The AstroTwins!
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The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.