The Twelve Days of Christmas

In times ago, Christmas was celebrated as a festival of twelve days and thirteen Holy Nights.  Christmas Eve is actually the first of the Holy Nights, with the first day of Christmastide being Christmas and then the Holy Nights extend until Twelfth Night on the eve of January fifth (anyone remember Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare?)  January 6 is of course Epiphany.

These Holy Nights, is one of my most personally fulfilling times of the whole year.  It is a very inward time, a time to dream and a time to plan.  I do a lot of reflecting and thinking about what I want to see in my family life during the next year and what I want to see in myself.   I try very hard to schedule nothing during this time, and to have copious amounts of time to just be.  We hike a lot during this period if the weather holds up, and otherwise just enjoy being together.  You can see my thoughts about the Holy Nights and where I was in inner work last year at this time here:

Some families give gifts on only Three Kings Day, and some give a small gift every day throughout the Twelve Days.  It might be nice to spread out your gift-giving.  This Wikipedia definition has more about these days in general:

Many Waldorf families mark this time by setting up a path of stars for the Three Kings to travel on to reach the infant Jesus.  Some families make an Advent-type calendar to mark these days.  Some families make a Weather Tree, and have fun guessing what the weather will be like each month of the new year based on the weather of each of the Twelve Days.

This is a great time to play card and board games with your family, to catch up with your family and friends, to grow more intimate with your spouse or partner as you plan and dream together.

Where are you right now in your inner work?  Where are you in parenting and homeschooling? Planning for the next school year (assuming you will be starting another school year in September of 2010) is right around the corner.  Perhaps you can use some time during these Twelve Days to talk finances with your spouse regarding your homeschooling budget.  This is important; there would be expenses even if your children were in school, so you should also be thinking and planning for Spring purchases for Fall.

Where is your house?  Perhaps during these Twelve Days you can consider what projects around the house might need to get done.  Where is your rhythm, your menu  planning?

This is your time to slow down, to take stock.

Enjoy this quiet, introspective time –



11 thoughts on “The Twelve Days of Christmas

  1. Carrie,

    I, too observe the 12 days of Inner Christmas..I started 2 years ago and this magical time has been one I look forward to especially after a busy festival season. I try to plan nothing to do….a hard thing for me to do. Very hard!
    It is already “scheduled” so it makes it easier 🙂 LOL

    Happy Holidays to all!

    Donna A

  2. We also look to these upcoming nights as a special, reflective time. It’s also when I write my Christmas cards–when there’s the quiet time to actually write to old friends and family. I’m grateful that our school honors this time with its vacation schedule and doesn’t start back until Jan. 7. Love the Weather Tree idea–we might try it!

  3. Dear Carrie,

    I found your page through Fabiola / Fig and Me who wrote about your posts. It is so interesting to read your thoughts about it and it is lovely to get to know how others are spending this time of the year.

    We too are celebrating the Twelve Nights of Christmas in our family and I am currently posting every day a little what the day´s theme is about. Feel warmly welcome to visit my blog.

    Sunny greetings from snowy Sweden,


    • Hi Juliane!! How wonderful to have you here! How funny that I went to look at your website last night, your stars are beautiful!!
      I will post a link to you!!
      Many blessings, Carrie

  4. Dear Carrie,

    sorry for not replying earlier – I am sick at the moment but try to keep the good spirits up to not let the coming year be a year filled with sighs when sighing too often during the Twelve Days of Christmas… Thank you for your lovely post with a link to me, lots of visitors have found the way to Fröken Skicklig (and mine will hopefully find the way to your site, following the link in the “inspiration” link list)

    Wishing you a 2010 full of ideas, freckles and fresh winds,


  5. Pingback: Celebrating the Twelve Holy Nights « The Parenting Passageway

  6. Pingback: A Message For the 2011 Twelve Holy Nights | The Parenting Passageway

  7. Pingback: These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: Advent Week Four | The Parenting Passageway

  8. Pingback: The Third Week of Advent and Preparing for Winter Solstice | The Parenting Passageway

  9. Pingback: Winter Solstice | The Parenting Passageway

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.