After taking it easy during Advent, I'm ready to extend the Christmas celebration to the real twelve days of Christmas-the days between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Wise Men visited Jesus. I wanted to do something to extend the fun without spending a lot of time, effort, or money (a common theme in these parts...).
I found a couple of good websites for inspiration. This one explains the history behind the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song (hint: the random "true-love" gifts all have hidden meanings) and gives some great family activity ideas to celebrate the various feast days throughout the twelve days. This one also gives great Christian historical basis for the twelve days. They got my wheels turning to come up with a doable, last-minute plan for our family that would play on the gift that the kids decided Jesus would want most: love.
Each day the kids will open an envelope which will include a Hershey's kiss to symbolize Jesus's love for them along with instructions for a simple activity aimed at showing love to Jesus and/or celebrating a feast day. Here's what I came up with:
|1||25-Dec||Christmas||Go to Mass, celebrate with family, sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus|
|2||26-Dec||Feast of St. Stephan the martyr||(traditionally give to the poor) read Acts 6 & 7, listen to Good King Wenceslaus, letter to Agnes (our sponsored child)|
|3||27-Dec||Feast of St. John||(traditionally "day of reconciliation") write Christmas thank-you notes|
|4||28-Dec||Feast of the Holy Innocents||read Matthew 2:16-18, collect toys to donate to children|
|5||29-Dec||Blow bubbles to Jesus|
|6||30-Dec||Go to Mass, take a gift suggestion from the parish Christmas tree|
|7||31-Dec||Feast of the Holy Family||Do something special as a family, later NYE Party|
|8||1-Jan||Somemnity of Mary||Say the Magnificat or Rosary (6:30 Rosary @Marion?)|
|9||2-Jan||Bake star-shaped rice krispies, talk about the Wise Men|
|10||3-Jan||Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus||"Names of Jesus" coloring page|
|11||4-Jan||Feast of Elizabeth Ann Seton||Go to Library, read a Christmas book (St. Elizabeth was a teacher)|
|12||5-Jan||Clean house in preparation for the Epiphany, Stargaze|
|6-Jan||Epiphany||Go to Mass, "Merry Christmas St. Mary" party, chalk doors, bless house|
I'm hoping that the extended celebration helps draw out the joy of the season and remind us that Emmanuel-God with us-is something to celebrate every day.