Saturday, January 12, 2019

Our 12 Days of Christmas

With tomorrow wrapping up the end of the (official) Christmas season, I thought it might be a good time to share how we celebrated our Christmas.  We started the tradition of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas about 3 years ago, and while it is a little exhausting (for mom!), I really am glad it's something that we do now.  It has helped make the Christmas season more meaningful for us, and it also takes the stress out of feeling like we have to do all.the.things on Christmas eve or the first day of Christmas.  I just recently purchased Kendra's book about liturgical living and am excited to read it and get even more ideas for next year.  But for now, here's how our family does it.

It all starts with a list that I hang up on the refrigerator on Christmas eve after the kids go to bed.  The list contains each day of Christmas, and what special thing we will do that day.  I mix it up with some easy things and some more involved things.  The easy things, like watching a Christmas movie or coloring lunch bags, give me a much needed break during the 12 days, while the more involved things, like going for a hike or going to see Christmas lights, take a little more planning, but I don't put anything on the list that is super-involved or time-consuming.  Part of the joy of Christmas, in my opinion, should be keeping it simple and easy and relaxed.

Anyhow, once the gifts are opened and the candy binge ends, the kids love to run to the refrigerator on Christmas morning to see what fun things they will be doing during the rest of Christmas.  I'm always pleasantly surprised by just how excited they get over reading the list, and I think they look forward to that as much as opening their gifts.  It also has really helped drive home the idea that Christmas doesn't begin until December 25, which allows us to put more emphasis on Advent during the weeks before.

Even after the 12 days ends, we still celebrate by eating leftover candy, using our Christmas dishes, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas videos, and leaving all our decorations and tree up.  But after the Baptism of the Lord (tomorrow), we'll take our decorations down and put away the Christmas dishes, and eat the last of the candy (I must stop eating candy!).  However, our Christmas lights and nativity will stay out until Candlemas (February 2) partly to remember the old 40-days of Christmas tradition, and partly because I love having the lights up in the house during the long, dark evenings of winter. 

If you haven't done the 12-days of Christmas tradition with your family yet, I really encourage you to give it a try.  Just keep it easy and work from there. Sometimes, we forget just how little it takes to make a child happy. Below is our list from this year (since we homeschool year-round, not doing lessons is a big way to celebrate) and a few photos from our 12-days of Christmas.  Do you do this tradition? If so, I'd love to hear what you do!

Tuesday - December 25 - Day 1:  NO LESSONS, Gifts, Steak

Wednesday - December 26 - Day 2: NO LESSONS, Go on a picnic; eat birthday cake

Thursday - December 27 - Day 3:  NO LESSONS, Go see Christmas lights

Friday - December 28 - Day 4: NO LESSONS, Decorate Graves (Feast of Holy Innocents)

 Saturday – December 29 –Day 5: Family Hike

Sunday – December 30 – Day 6:  Saint Bingo (Feast of the Holy Family)

Monday – December 31 – Day 7:  NO LESSONS, Lunch with our priest then go to Mass

Tuesday – January 1 – Day 8:  NO LESSONS, Stay with grandparents; Christmas Bird Count

Wednesday – January 2 – Day 9: LESSONS, Family Christmas movie & make kettlecorn

Thursday – January 3 – Day 10:  Co-op; decorate lunch bags (Feast of Holy Name of Jesus)

Friday – January 4 – Day 11:  LESSONS, Adoration

Saturday – January 5 – Day 12 (12th Night): Make treats

Sunday – January 6 – Epiphany Party; Gifts
Day 2 of Christmas:  Birthday cake for Jesus
I was informed that Jesus likes German chocolate

 Day 3 of Christmas:  Going to see Christmas lights

Day 5 of Christmas:  Our annual family hike (with friends)

Day 6 of Christmas: Playing Saint Bingo with Grandma and Grandpa

Day 10 of Christmas:  Remembering Jesus' Holy Name as we pack lunches

Day 12 of Christmas: Making candy for our Epiphany party

Epiphany Party! 
King cake decorated with wild edibles, lots of candy and treats.

And chalking the doors for another year.
May all who enter our home be blessed!

1 comment:

  1. It is so good to see more people celebrating *all* of Christmas. I hate that once Christmas day is over, the holiday seems to just disappear for most people. What great memories you are making for your boys! Jesus has good taste in cakes.