It’s Christmas Eve and for the majority of the Christmas celebrating population that means that Christmas is almost over. Soon the tree will come down, the decorations will be put up and the Christmas music will come to a halt. But if you have been observing Advent you are just now getting the party started. I love the season of Advent and over the past few years I have started to hold off on Christmas festivities in our home more and more. It is a practice that I love, but if I’m being completely honest I have to fight the fear of missing out feelings from time to time through out the season. That is why I have been looking for ways to truly celebrate Christmas all season long in our home. I way to make the season feel joyful and special, even if the rest of the world has returned to “ordinary time”. Christmastide is the celebration of the 12 days of Christmas from Christmas Day to Epiphany (the celebration of the Kings arrival to honor baby Jesus). Some families choose to celebrate clear up to Candlemas, the feast of the presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. If you want a little more information about Christmas season in the Catholic church check out THIS article, or THIS article.
My goal for this year is to be more intentional about celebrating Christmastide, or the 12 days of Christmas. I wanted to round up a few ideas of ways to keep the Christmas joy flowing until Epiphany. We won’t do all of these ideas, but I think they are all fun ways to celebrate the season. Some of the ideas are simple, while others are more involved. I know that the return to the regular schedule of work, activities and school can make any “extras” feel overwhelming, but I think with a few intentional practices you can still keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your home, and your heart!
- Christmas Meal Prayer– I think this is the easiest swap. Instead of your usual meal blessing us a Christmas meal blessing. Print out the blessing card and display it on the table as a reminder that the Christmas season continues. While you are at it swap the advent candles for a white candle in your Advent wreath to symbolize the Christmas season, and light it during meal times.
- Keep the decorations up– I know many people are itching to return their home to a simpler state after Christmas day. I am sure the urge to take it down has a lot to do with when you put it up. If you put it up earlier I’m guessing you will be eager to take it down sooner…if this is you, try leaving a few items out for a reminder of the season. In our house things like stockings and other decorations get boxed up earlier, but we leave the tree and nativity up all season long.
- Play Christmas Music– Keep playing Christmas music to keep that Christmas vibe going strong.
- Traveling Kings- Since Epiphany is the celebration of the arrival of the Kings we usually wait to add the Wisemen to our Nativity until Epiphany. To mark their journey you can start them across the room or house and move them a little closer to the nativity every day leading up to Epiphany.
- Continue to read Christmas books and watch Christmas movies– Keep your Christmas books out, or even grab some new ones from the library…they should be back on the shelves very soon!
- Read the 12 days of Christmas and learn about the legend behind each of the items gifted. I found THIS one and I like that it discusses the Christian symbolism that is believed to be behind the items. I think we will read a little each day, covering the day of Christmas that we are on. You could also pair the readings with some ornaments to help mark the days of the season. I like THESE from Amazon, but there are lots of different sets on ETSY as well.
- A candy countdown- I have been a little bit of a Grinch this advent about sugar…partly to observe a more penitential advent and partly to keep our immune systems at their peak. I plan to be a little more relaxed throughout the Christmas season and I think this Candy Countdown made out of candy and saran wrap is such a SWEET way to mark the Christmastide.
- A 12 Days of Christmas Activity Calendar– This year I am also going to attempt a 12 days of Christmas activity- a- day. I hope it will be an opportunity to do all the fun activities that we did not do during Advent. If doing an activity a day feels like too much pick a handful of activities to scatter through out the season and put them on the calendar. You can print a list of ideas as well as some cards to write the daily activities on below. I grabbed some tiny manila envelopes to tuck the cards into, because I thought they we so cute! The activities I came up with vary- some are simple, some could involve little gifts if you want to keep the gifting up. Like a new book for everyone and a cozy reading day or evening, or a new wintery puzzle to work on as a family. Other ideas are more spiritual, like praying a rosary or attending adoration.
- Celebrate Epiphany– Even if you don’t do a lot of extras throughout the Christmastide, take a little time to mark the closing of Christmastide by celebrating Epiphany. (This year it is celebrate in the US on January 8th) Check out THIS post for some Epiphany inspiration.
- A Family Devotion– The Jesse Tree is one of my favorite Advent traditions. I would love to find a devotion that we could do together throughout the Christmas season. I think using one like, THIS that focuses on the names of Jesus would be special. You could just pick 12 or work your way through the whole list.
I hope you found an idea or two that might make the season of Christmas more special and meaningful in your home! Do you already have a tradition to help you keep the celebration going? If so, I’d love to hear it!