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Over the past several years, we've noticed that it seems like the Christmas season ends abruptly on December 26th. Other than post-Christmas sales, of course. That's rather sad when you consider that according to the traditional church calendars, the Christmas season has only begun. For the four weeks leading up to December 25th, it was actually the Advent season - a time of reflection and preparation. The Christmas season, or Christmastide, begins on December 25th and lasts until January 6th - the Twelve Days of Christmas.
This year at our house, the entire Christmas celebration was different because we were not traveling for Christmas, and my parents are here with us instead of us visiting my husband's parents. Since this was our chance to establish some new holiday traditions that would be unique to our family (instead of 'doing' Christmas the way my in-laws have traditionally done it), the hubby and I tried to come up with something that would be simple and home- and family-oriented, wouldn't be expensive, and would encourage us to allow the season to last. I did quite a bit of googling, looking into ideas for the Twelve Days of Christmas, but most of what I found was suited to devotionals for Catholic or Orthodox liturgical observations, or was intended for little-kid-crafts. Not exactly what we needed.
At last, I decided we would invent a tradition of our own, and it would be incredibly simple. When we got home from the Christmas Eve service, we spent some time making what amounts to a sort of "bucket list" of foods and activities that we would like to enjoy together during the twelve days.
Almost every activity is something that can be done at home or nearby; almost all activities are free or cheap to do; and with a few exceptions, everyone can participate in some way. Some are specific to this year, such as vehicle shopping and a party we plan to attend. Some things will happen on specific days, like watching the Winter Classic and having New Years Cookies (on January 1st) and taking down the tree(on January 6th).
We got started with some of our list right on Christmas Day - we had French toast for breakfast, we played games and worked on puzzles, and did some baking. I don't know what we'll do today, but we hope that we'll be able to check at least one thing off the list each day.
Do you have family activities or traditions that help you enjoy the Christmas season during the 12 Days of Christmas? I'd love to hear what other families do, so I'm offering a chance to link up any posts you have about your family Christmas/New Year traditions. Please link up and leave comments here and on the other linked posts!
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