Most of us are familiar with the carol “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Most are less sure of when exactly those 12 days fall. Unfortunately, the retail world would have you believe that the Christmas season ends when the stores close on December 24th. In fact, the first day of Christmas is December 25th the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. December 26th to January 6th are the other 11 days. This year we invite you to live the Christmas season for these 12 days. Below are 12 ideas to help you do this.
December 25th - The Christmas Story
Take time today to acknowledge that we celebrate the birth of Christ. Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, He’ll appreciate it! Afterwards re-read the Christmas story. Encourage everyone to read a part aloud.
Matthew, Chapters 1 and 2
Luke, Chapters 1 and 2
Here is a link to the Christmas Story for Children.
December 26th - Sing Christmas Carols
Radio stations may have quit the Christmas music but you do not have to. Continue playing and singing Christmas carols during the next 11 days. It is a great way to remind you and your family that we are still in the Christmas season.
Click here for a fun Christmas Song.
December 27th - Family Time
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Plan a special activity to do as a family:
-check out the lights at Upper Canada Village,
-go bowling at Quilles Nativité Bowl,
-build a snowman,
-play a board game,
December 28th - Send a Christmas Card
If you did not get around to sending out Christmas cards this year, it’s not too late! Gather your family and write Christmas cards to extended family and friends. They will love to receive the mail and it’s another way to remind people of the 12 Days of Christmas. Click here for Christmas e-Cards.
December 29th - Give a Gift
Today, why not surprise someone with a Christmas gift. It does not have to be anything fancy, it’s the thought that truly counts.
The gift is a reminder of God’s greatest gift to us - His Son!
December 30th - A Family Movie Night
Gather the family around, pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie together. Here are a few ideas:
The Bells of St Mary’s
A Christmas Carol
The Fourth Wise Man
The Nativity Story
December 31st - Count Your Blessings
To mark the end of the year have a special dinner. Ask your guests to bring something that symbolizes a blessing received from God in the last year. Place them all under the Christmas tree, and after the meal ask everyone to describe their blessing.
January 1st - Celebrate Mary, the Mother of God
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Before heading to Mass, gather together and pray the Hail Mary. After dinner, pray the rosary as a family.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
January 2nd - Friend Time
As the Christmas season moves into the homestretch, spend some time with your closest friends. Be sure to let them know how much they mean to you.
If you live too far away, give them a call.
January 3rd - What’s in a Name
Today is the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "Everyone's name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it." Find out from your parents why they chose your name and what it means.
January 4th - Make Christmas Cookies
Why not bake one last batch of Christmas cookies to share with your classmates or colleagues. When they ask if they are leftovers, tell them no and remind them that you made them because we are still in the Christmas season.
January 5th - Giving Thanks & Remembering Others
If you have not already done so, send out thank you cards to all those who gave you gifts at Christmas. Make it a handwritten note instead of an email or tweet - people will appreciate receiving good old fashioned mail.
And on this 1th day of Christmas, visit chalice.ca to pick out a gift to send to someone in the Developing World. After all helping all our brothers and sisters is what it is all about!
January 6th - Blessing of your Home
Today at Mass, we remember the arrival of the Wise Men. On this day, it is also tradition to have a home blessing.
Blessing of the House for Epiphany
All: Make the Sign of the Cross.
Head of Household: Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Reader: Read John 1:1-14 - In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
After the prayer of blessing is recited, each room is sprinkled with holy water.