Christmas in the Home—All Twelve Days
This red Swedish candle holder takes the place of the Advent candles, transforming the wreath for Christmas. It sits on an Austrian Christmas cloth and is lit through the 12 Days of Christmas.
Christmas is the time we celebrate God among and with in us: Emmanuel. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. This human event helps usseeJesus in his full humanity.
Christmas, however, is not a one-day feast. It is a twelve-day season, now is the time for Christmas music and festivity.
Rejoice in the reality that God is among and within us in our own time.
The Christmas spirit is one of joy, gladness, and especially celebration.
Christmas symbols include the manger for Jesus' humble birth, angels who first announced his birth, and the Chi Rho, the oldest monogram for Christ (the first letters of his name in Greek). Christmas trees have symbolism, too. Especially in Germany apples represented Adam and Eve, recalling the medieval mystery play for Christmas Eve, roses for Mary and wafers for the Christ Child. Legend even has Christmas tree lights originating with Martin Luther, saying he was out walking and saw a fir tree surrounded by stars. It was so beautiful it inspired him to put candles on a special Christmas tree.
Crèche scenes are an important part of the season—especially for children. Do have child-safe nativity sets so children may freely play with them. Children will tell and re-tell the story, learning the characters as they play. Valuable and breakable sets should be put up out of reach. Here are some of our favorites:
Christmas Eve begins the Christmas season, as all church festivals begin on the eve before the day. Most churches have Christmas Eve services appropriate for families with children. Some children enjoy attending midnight Christmas Eve services. However, for some it is helpful to get some sleep on this exciting night. If it doesn't work for your family to attend a service, and even if you do, it is a time to sing carols together and read the Gospel Christmas story.
Greet Christmas morning with, "Advent is over; Christmas has come! Christ is born!" Sing "Joy to the World" and talk a bit to affirm faith and why we give gifts. Serve a special Christmas bread for breakfast.
The Twelve Days of Christmas begin with Christmas Day as day #1 and continue until Twelfth Night, January 5, the Eve of Epiphany. These days are the Christmas season—time to celebrate! Now is the time to play and sing Christmas carols. Keep the Christmas tree and decorations up until Twelfth Night.
The 12 Days of Christmas
PDF files for a Christmas morning family worship leaflet has just a bit to read, to sing, and to pray. A quotation about gift-giving is also included. One verse or two of the Christmas story, with a single stanza of a carol, is provided for the Days of Christmas.
Print 2-sided on heavy stock and you'll have reusable leaaflets that may simply be pulled out to be used year after year. If covers are decorated by the children, rather than printed, just print the second page. A cover is not provided for the Days of Christmas.
Reading should be done by both adults and children; it is important to involve everyone at an appropriate level. Used with the transformed Advent wreath, children may light and snuff candles, and, of course, read.
There are so many wonderful children's Christmas books: read one each day.
The twelve days are the perfect time to do Christmas entertaining. After spending a year in Scotland we hosted a Boxing Day (December 26th) party for mixed ages for years and years. Knowing we'd be having a big party the day after Christmas led to somewhat simplified Christmas dinners. I found entertaining friends during the real season was much more pleasant than squeezing entertaining in with all the other pre-Christmas activities.
USE your Creche Nativity: 5 Family-Friendly Ideas
Printery House has some nice nativity sets for children
Nativity Building Block Set compatible with Lego and Cobi blocks
Wooden Miniature Nativity comes with stable
Punch-Out Nativity punch out wood pieces & assemble; needs adult help
Felt Nativitiy nice soft pieces
Child's 1st Nativity with stable, pricier set
Christmas Eve for the Christian Household by David Batchelder
Blessing Your Christmas Tree a short blessing
Making Luminarias: A Fun and Easy Tradition to light the way for the Christ Child
5 Household Traditions for Christmas Eve simple ideas, reverently avoid chaos
Advent in the Home
Christmas in the Home
Epiphany in the Home
Lent in the Home
Holy Week in the Home
Easter in the Home
Ascension Day in the Home
Pentecost in the Home
Trinity Sunday in the Home
Ordinary Time in the Home
Baptismal Anniversaries in the Home
by the children of S Paul's Anglican Church, Aukland, New Zealand