Monday, December 22, 2014

Celebrating Your Way Through the 12 Days of Christmas for Busy Families

We're almost there. Advent is coming to a close. Preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord is actively afoot. If you haven't been doing much "Christmassy" stuff during Advent, I'm sure the stamina to party all 12 days of Christmas is there. Even if you have been sneaking some cookies, music, and movies here and there… *ahem* guilty on all accounts … you still want to make all that excitement last, right?

After the coma that the sugar rush and present pile on Christmas Day brings, what else can be done to keep the party going? Well, first off, there are some major feast days to be celebrated throughout the 12 days, so I'll give you some simple ideas to remember and observe those. Otherwise throw in some Christmas cheer here and there, and you're sure to have a wonderful 12 days of Christmas.

First up, the day we've all been hoping, preparing, and waiting for…

December 25 // Christmas Day

Feast, feast, and feast some more! Jump in feet first to the celebrating of Our Savior come to earth! Light the white candle in the center of your Advent wreath. Open gifts. Sing hymns of joy of Jesus born to be God with Us.

Here is a Christmas prayer from Catholic Culture to add to your festivities!

December 26 // Feast Day of St. Stephen the Martyr

Pray for the martyrs of the Church as we remember St. Stephen, a deacon of the Church, who was stoned to death for his Faith.

Sing Christmas carols around your tree - don't forget 'Good King Wenceslas,' which refers to the King giving alms on the Feast of St. Stephen. If you have forgotten almsgiving or making a donation to an organization you were hoping to during Advent, never fear - today is also a perfect day to give a gift to the poor.

Feeling British? Today is also known as Boxing Day - here is a recipe for Turkey and Ham pie to use up those Christmas leftovers.

December 27 // Feast Day of St. John the Evangelist

A traditional celebration on this day was to bless wine with a special blessing, partake in it, and then save it for the rest of the year. This practice comes from a legend where St. John drank poisoned wine and was unharmed by it.

Read John 1 aloud.

December 28 // Feast Day of the Holy Family and the Holy Innocents

Pray for families around the world including your own! Buy this printable from Emerlyearts on Etsy, print, and color.

Remember the Innocents that are forgotten amongst us - the many pre born children taken by abortion. Read a book like Angel in the Waters. Buy diapers or wipes and take them to a local pregnancy center.

It is also customary for parents to bless their children on this day:
"Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, and their angels always see the face of my Father;" Look now, we beseech thee, on the innocence of these children: Bless them and protect them this night and throughout their lives; (the parent makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each child) in thy grace and goodness let them advance continually, longing for thee, knowing thee, and loving thee, that they may at the last come to their destined home and behold thee face to face; through Jesus Christ, the Holy Child of Bethlehem, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

December 29 // Feast Day of St. Thomas Becket

In heraldry crows with red bills are known as "beckits," so an activity for today could be filling your bird feeders. If you decorate your Christmas tree with popcorn and cranberries, you could move those decorate strands outside today for a snack for the birds, too.

Make some Christmas cookies or other treats for yourselves, too!

Older celebrators could watch Becket, but I wouldn't recommend it for the younger crowd.

December 30 // 6th Day of Christmas

Make Christmas stuffed apples from Haley and Daniel's E-cookbook: Feast! (on sale for the rest of Advent, so make sure to get your copy of this great E-book now!)

December 31 // 7th Day of Christmas

Cue the Christmas movies! And the music! Celebrate the end of the year with friends or family, loud or quiet. We're going to be just us this year, so I'm pretty sure we might not even make it to midnight, but we'll still do something fun that celebrates another year of growing and learning.

We're lovers of great games, so you'll probably find us playing at least one game. Want ideas for some new ones for yourself? Look no further.

January 1 // Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Get thee to mass. It's a holy day of obligation to honor our Blessed Mother. Then pray a family rosary or at least a decade. Blueberry treats of a sort would be perfect to set the day focussed - tarts, pie, breads/muffins, or just atop a scone or waffle.

January 2 // Feast Day of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen

Make a Christmas ornament for your tree or some paper snowflakes for your tree. My oldest would leap for joy if we made these.

There is a recipe for St. Basil's Bread in A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year that is a Greek Orthodox tradition for this day.

January 3 // Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Remember the godparents of your children by making them a special homemade card or other small present. Talk about your kid's names and what they mean and why you named them that or who you named them after.

January 4 // Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Read about this saint who was the first American born person to be declared a Saint.

Catch up on any Nativity picture books that you haven't read yet.

January 5 // Twelfth Night // Feast Day of St. John Neumann 

In medieval times, today would be the 'Feast of Fools,' on which we're reminded that Christmas is a season celebrating something that set the world "topsy turvy," as it were. God coming down to earth as a man so that we could become sons of men. Contemplate on this beautiful mystery we've been celebrating and how it truly changed the whole world for all time.

Put on a pot of wassail, cozy up in the blankets, and watch Twelfth Night

There you have it! Some of our plans for the 12 days of Christmas. Does your family have any fun ways you draw out the celebration for the whole 12 days? 

Wishing each of you a blessed Christmas season as you revel in the miracle of our Savior coming to earth, so we could become children of the Most High.

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first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 22 December 2014 


  1. Love this! We always celebrated the Epiphany growing up, but I'd love to throw more in between. Thanks for the recommendations.

  2. What wonderful ideas, Sarah! Thank you for putting this together. I especially love the prayer to bless our children.


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