Ah, yes, we are in the Christmas season that kicked off yesterday, December 25 and continues until the evening of January 5 with the eve of Epiphany. It is unfortunate that the first day of Christmas ends the Christmas marketing season for merchants, as shown by the number of “after-Christmas sales” that launched today, December 26. The commercial calendar has encouraged an incorrect assumption that the Twelve Days end on Christmas Day and must begin on 14 December (Wikipedia).
I still celebrate the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas accordingly. Many people who observe the Twelve Days may give gifts on each of them, with each day of the Twelve Days representing a wish for a corresponding month of the new year. They feast and otherwise celebrate the entire time through Epiphany morning. Other traditions include: lighting a candle for each day, burning a Yule Log on the first night (Christmas night) and let it burn some each of the twelve nights, and having traditional foods served each night (Wikipedia).
For me and my family, we enjoy our time together listening to Christmas Carols, sharing conversation and leftovers, and reminiscing over Christmases past. We also partake in the “after-Christmas” sales and plan for the New Year. For some, Twelfth Night (January 5th) remains the biggest night for parties and gift-giving. Some households exchange gifts on the first (25 December) and last (5 January) days of the season. As in olden days, Twelfth Night to Epiphany morning is then the traditional time to take down the Christmas tree and decorations (Wikipedia).
Truth be told, our Christmas tree often stayed up until my sister’s birthday, which is just before mid-January. And, since we use an artificial tree, we could theoretically have the tree up all year and simply change the decorations to reflect the changing seasons (Valentine tree, St. Patrick’s day tree, Spring tree, Easter tree, and so on). We can choose to celebrate Christmas, love and light anyway we wish; but, the best way to keep Christmas and love in our hearts, is to give a bit of ourselves to others everyday of the year with the gift of kindness and compassion, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Merry Christmas!
- Twelve Months in Twelve Days (averygrandpressigny.blogspot.com)