Twelve Days

Candles and hollyMy friends who follow me on Facebook will already be familiar with this rant but I want to share it here too. To whit, the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Christmas celebrations seem to begin earlier every year and from at least the beginning of December you can expect to see Christmas decorations and hear Christmas ‘musac’ everywhere. People decorate their homes and gardens earlier and earlier as if trying to score points by being the first, with the result that by the time Christmas actually arrives they are already fed up with them and longing to take them down. Some even do this on Boxing Day, if they can take time off spending yet more money in the ‘Sales’ that they might even have queued up for over night! Others do at least last out until New Year, but as far as many people are concerned Christmas is over, they are back at work and the children will be back at school in a day or two if not already.

On 2nd January this year my husband and I visited our local tip with some junk cleared from our barn. There were people there throwing away their Christmas trees. It saddens me. There are twelve days of Christmas – the first being Christmas Day itself, so twelfth night is the night of 5th January and traditionally decorations stay up until then, not being taken day until 6th January. This is also, in Christian tradition, when the three wise men arrived at the stable – Epiphany. Even in pre-Christian times the celebrations at this time of year lasted for many days welcoming the return of the light with feasting and firelight.

I believe in tradition and I think it is good to honour the old traditions, it is the way I was brought up. When I was little, yes decorations were seen in the shops from around mid-December and yes, we probably visited Santa in his grotto to tell him what we wanted for Christmas, or we wrote our letter and posted it up the chimney (who has those these days – well actually we do, but many don’t) but decorations were not put up in our house until after my older sister and I had gone to bed on Christmas Eve. That way, when we came down on Christmas morning it was wonderfully exciting, it had wow factor.

As we got older we were allowed to help with the decorations and eventually do it all ourselves, but still not until Christmas Eve (i.e. the day before the first day of Christmas). When I had my own home I carried on this tradition although, with so much to do at that time it gradually got slightly earlier, to maybe the weekend before Christmas. As my youngest son’s birthday is 20th December we usually got the decorations up by then, in time for his party and often ‘Santa’ dropped by to give the children their goody bags, but even so they never came down before 6th January, we had our full twelve days of Christmas.

This year I have had a slight problem in that we have been away this weekend in order to attend a family gathering hosted by my brother-in-law and his wife on 6th January, which was great, but I can’t be in two places at once. What was I to do about the decorations? For the first time ever I have taken some down before twelfth night. I took down the outside tree lights (no-one was going to turn them on when it got dark anyway) and those in the porch and hallway, I have also removed the odd piece of tinsel but the bulk have stayed in place, including the indoor tree, and they will have to wait until we get home tomorrow before being packed away for next Christmas – a compromise of sorts!

Meanwhile maybe I will start a campaign to bring back the full twelve days of Christmas – and it starts here!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. julespaige
    Jan 08, 2018 @ 16:00:01

    Some say that traditions need to be respected and honored. That would be nice.
    But unfortunately until blatant commercialism is removed I fear that religious traditions will take a back seat – in regards to any and all winter holiday festivals.

    Here Holiday decorating starts the day after (sometimes stores even before) our Thanksgiving which is the third (or this year the forth) Thursday in November.
    And the after holiday sales will continue until the 50% or even 75% off merchandise has disappeared from the store shelves.

    Retail seasons are different from anything else I have ever encountered. I used to work in retail. And when Swimsuits go up January 1st something is off. We already have Valentines displays in our local book store – and that is already on sale!

    Valentines no longer relates to anything religious. It is just another commercialized retail sales holiday. Arg!!!


    • Libby
      Jan 10, 2018 @ 16:11:36

      It’s the whole commercialism thingy that is so bad about it these days. It’s not so much that I wish it to be a religious celebration of any specific tradition, just remove the commercialism and honour the season. 🙂


      • julespaige
        Jan 10, 2018 @ 16:50:49

        That would mean for people to be respectful all year round… how would humanity cope?
        Better perhaps…just a wee bit better. 🙂

  2. grannysu
    Jan 08, 2018 @ 18:41:07

    We celebrate the 12 days. I just took my tree down, albeit reluctantly. The whole season is so special and filled with layers of meaning, I want to give it all its due. So I am with you on this!


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