Celebrating the twelve days of Christmas has revolutionized the holiday for me these past two years. I suppose one could use the twelve days to try to squeeze in more presents and more meals making it even more stressful. But, I've felt the freedom to spread out traditions, meaning that I don't feel like everything has to be done by Dec. 25th and if it doesn't get done by Epiphany, then it probably wasn't that important. It also feels so much more appropriate to be working through advent to ready ourselves, not for a single day, but for an event that spills over into 12 days.
A friend ask recently if we buy presents for all twelve days and while there are a few family gifts of used books or games and maybe a craft supply or two, mostly we just work at marking the time. A trip to the aquarium (we have a membership), a Christmas story book to share, a christmas movie with popcorn, juice in the fridge, lots of Christmas songs and books, a trip to our favorite hot cocoa spot, treats to make together to share with others... We are slowing down, drawing together and rejoicing in the newness that Christmas brings. Last year we did giving quests and I loved it, but this year, while the 12 stockings are hung, our daily mission (which isn't always about giving, unless you count spending time together as a gift to each other, which it is... but not in the same way the original idea intended) hasn't actually made it into the stocking yet and its been just fine. Daddy is working, which means that mama is busy working too, but we are still finding time to slow down and mark the time. There is something fun each day and we're rejoicing that Christ's light has come.
This years 12 Days looks a little like this::
:: We've been really enjoying The Thirteen Days of Christmas by Jenny Overton. I happened on it by chance when looking for another book illustrated by Shirley Hughes. There is a chapter for each of the twelve days (and st. Nick day, Christmas Eve, and Epiphany.) We are also loving Emily's Runaway Imagination, The Blue Fairy Book, and The Green Fairy Book (because we need more than one chapter to read aloud on these cold dark days)
:: I'm loving every christmas tree light and candle I see. I love the thought of Christ as Light on these dark days.
::Solstice pjs for the boys became 4th day of Christmas pjs (stacked in photo below). They are flannel lined and oh so warm - they may just need another pair or two.
:: We're all enjoying our new Christmas books. I'm loving the godly play book 8 on the saints and have some projects in mind! Jonah is reading like crazy and only half way through his books - hooray for a huge stack of new reading material!
:: I'm planning home ed for the winter (to start next week). Mostly I've been going through History of the World book two and picking the literature we will read to supplement (and bemoaning the lack of books in our library system.) I get so excited about new books to share.
:: The boys are designing a winter village with new "Christmas Blocks" that appeared on the third day of Christmas.
:: I'm loving some longer naps from the wee one and can't wait until we have a bit more of a schedule. I forgot how wearing it is to be on call 24 hours a day with very little predictability. And, my goodness my baby boys are hungry ones!
:: We're letting Jonah have extra computer time over the holidays so that he can look up dinos on wikipedia and he is thrilled. Such a little nerd, and I love it!
:: We're all enjoying BBC's Frozen Planet.
:: Mum and Daddy are loving Lindt and Gardners Chocolate and two new seasons of Star Trek!!
:: New games and toys make the days seem a little shorter for all of us.
... so far these are good days!