The 12 Days of Christmas

A great way to interact with the family is re-enacting the 12 days of Christmas. There are ways to do this without being exceptionally literal, but it’s a great tool to energize the family for the holiday season.

The History

As the 12 days are literally the 12 days between Christmas and the Epiphany (25 December to 6 January), it’s a great time for education. The 12 days technically don’t lead up to Christmas; however, this shouldn’t stop the family from recognizing its significance. Traditionally, Epiphany is the day the Three Wise Men presented their gifts to the baby Jesus. That being the case, in traditional recognition of the 12 days, families give gifts on 6 January as opposed to 25 December. The twelfth night –usually 5 January– signifies the removal of all Christmas decorations and is celebrated with a great feast.

Christmas Decoration

For the family following a less literal understanding of the 12 days, each day leading up to Christmas can be a day of decoration. Instead of adding all the trinkets to the tree as soon as it’s brought home, only string up the Christmas lights and garland. On the first day of Christmas, add a partridge decoration; on the second day, two turtle doves, and so forth. The acquisition of these decorations shouldn’t be a daunting task as Christmas is the most highly celebrated –and marketable– holiday on the calendar.

Christmas Events

Making an itinerary for the 12 days of Christmas will give the family a great deal of bonding time. Perhaps on the first day take the family Christmas carolling around the neighbourhood. On the second day take the family to a Christmas lights show, maybe even a drive around the neighbourhood to marvel at the Christmas lights on the various houses. Next, donating to Toys for Tots (or something in the spirit of “good will towards men”).

However the family chooses to recognize the 12 days –literally or otherwise– the main point is to understand the significance of Christmas as it relates to each individual family. The 12 days represent an opportunity to instil the true meaning of Christmas into the family mainframe –peace, good will towards one’s fellow man, and love for all.

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