Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Extending the Joy of the Season with the 12 Days of Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! We had a great weekend that seemed to have just the right balance of quiet peace and noisy, ear-splitting, joyful chaos (after all, anyone who has been through labor knows that the First Noel would've anything but a Silent Night...) 

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:

125-DecChristmasGo to Mass, celebrate with family, sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus
226-DecFeast 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)
327-DecFeast of St. John (traditionally "day of reconciliation") write Christmas thank-you notes
428-DecFeast of the Holy Innocentsread Matthew 2:16-18, collect toys to donate to children
529-Dec Blow bubbles to Jesus
630-Dec Go to Mass, take a gift suggestion from the parish Christmas tree
731-DecFeast of the Holy FamilyDo something special as a family, later NYE Party
81-JanSomemnity of MarySay the Magnificat or Rosary (6:30 Rosary @Marion?)
92-Jan Bake star-shaped rice krispies, talk about the Wise Men
103-JanFeast of the Holy Name of Jesus"Names of Jesus" coloring page
114-JanFeast of Elizabeth Ann SetonGo to Library, read a Christmas book (St. Elizabeth was a teacher)
125-Jan Clean house in preparation for the Epiphany, Stargaze
 6-JanEpiphanyGo 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.

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