Twelve Days of Christmas

A simple celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas can help us keep Christ in Chrismtas.

12 Days of Christmas

The secular celebration of Christmas often leaves us hurried and harried and sends our children into an excited frenzy that ends with a family-room litered with tinsel and torn wrapping paper. We can use the 12 Days of Christmas not as an extension of the same festivities, but a time to greet the New Year and renew our hearts with Christ's presence.

History of the Twelve Days of Christmas

The Eastern Orthodox church originally celebrated Christmas on January 6. With the date of the holiday moved to December 6, the twelfth day became a reminder of the wisemen's visit to Jesus.

Historically, it has been celebrated in different ways by different church traditions and different families.

Here are a variety of ways you might incorporate it into your family.

Symbolism from the Song

Proposed Meaning of that Partridge in the Pear Tree

Debate continues as to the original meaning of the well-known cryptic song. In some circles the gifts were considered symbols for teaching major points of Christian teaching to those who could not read. Lists will differ, but here is one such list. You can find pages to color for each of the different days on sites like this one: 12 Days Coloring Pages.

Twelve Days of Receiving Gifts

Before I had children I had read about a family that de-emphasized gifts by allowing their children to open one gift a day and ended by opening the last gift Christmas morning. I did this with our children for many years and found several benefits. It took the emphasis away from the excitement of their own gift-getting frenzy. It allowed them to participate day-by-day in Christmas activities and to give as much as to get. And it allowed them to write their thank you notes one at a time as they opened their gifts.

We have since met others with a similar tradition, but gift opening starts December 25 and ends January 6.

Other traditions that our family and others have adopted include:

12 Days and 12 Ways of Giving

We all know it is better to give than receive, and here are 12 ways to spread the joy of giving into the New Year and make it a way of life. You can do one of these each day or pick and choose.

Twelve Days of Meditation

With the official community celebration behind us, we can embrace the next days of quiet to focus on our own relationship with Christ. Each day consider how each of the fruit's of the Spirit has blossomed in the latest season of our life; or how its absence has been demonstrated instead. It is His Spirit that brings these to greatest fruition and not our own efforts.

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