HE CELEBRATES THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. I’VE ALREADY TAKEN MY TREE DOWN.

This week’s post by staff writer Rigby Rat discusses Christmas celebration.

 

 

That’s too bad… that you’ve already taken your tree down. It is also too bad that stores abruptly pull their Christmas stock on December 24th, radio stations stop playing Christmas music on the 25th, and Christmas trees are left at the curb – all before The Twelfth Day of Christmas.

If you stop and think about it, very few people truly celebrate Christmas. Christmas season is twelve days. Hence, The Twelve Days of Christmas – the period (the spiritual feasts) between Christmas Day and the Epiphany. People who do not celebrate The Twelve Days of Christmas are not lauders of the Advent (the coming of Christ into this world.) Instead, they mindlessly go with the herd and do what most people do during The Twelve Days of Christmas – return gifts, shop for bargains, put the Christmas decorations in storage, and decide which party to attend on New Year’s Eve.

So, more power to your guy for not allowing retailers to dictate to him how he should commemorate the birth of Christ.

How should The Twelve Days of Christmas be celebrated? However your family wants to celebrate it. Some families exchange a gift each day, while others open all their gifts on the Epiphany after Mass. I know several families that do something each day as a unit: visit a museum/place, bake, read a book out loud, burn a Yule log, make Christmas decorations, volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit an elderly person, have a night of board games, play favorite Christmas music, have dinner with friends, hike, read a passage from the Bible.

If you know the true meaning of Christmas, Christmas season does not end on December 25th at 11:59 pm.

Each year, when Christmas rolls around, how much of your faith you want to embrace is up to you. On the flip side, if you decide to marry this guy – who celebrates The Twelve Days of Christmas – remember to discuss your spiritual differences before he puts the ring on your finger. Before you get engaged is the best time to close any and all spiritual gaps so you can live more harmoniously as a couple, and do a stellar job in drawing your children into your faith. Remember, starting a marriage on the same page is always a good thing!

The Best Christmas Ever

This post from staff writer Dallas Fitzgerald recalls his best Christmas ever in a story from his childhood.

 

When I was seven, my parents separated, and in the aftermath of their separation, my mother struggled financially.  She never let me or my brother know how bad it actually was, but when I look back on that period of my life, I realize how hard she worked to make ends meet.

She was working a full-time job and another part-time job from home, and I remember times when she would come home late from her full-time job, make us dinner, and then sit at the desk with her calculator and a stack of papers until we went to bed.  There were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I would see her still sitting at the desk working.

 

When Christmas rolled around that year, my brother and I made our usual lists and gave them to her to give to Santa Claus.  I can’t even remember what I asked for that year, but I remember that when we gave her our lists, she said something like, “Santa’s had a rough year, so don’t be too upset if you don’t get everything you asked for.”

At the time, I thought nothing of it.  Santa doesn’t have rough years, does he?  Or maybe he does.  My seven-year-old brain struggled to make sense of her words, but if anyone would know about the state of Santa’s year, it would be my all-knowing mother.  I struggled to think of a time in all my seven years of existence when she had been wrong about something before, and I couldn’t.  In the end, I decided that perhaps Santa does have rough years.

 

On Christmas Eve, I got sick with a nasty holiday cold.  “Ho, ho, haaachooo,” could be heard all through the house, and instead of going outside on the porch and watching the snow fall from the sky, I was stuck inside the house in my bed with snot falling from my nose.  But my mother was right there next to the bed, picking up my used Kleenexes, taking my temperature, and delivering piping hot chicken noodle soup to my bedside.

 

After a long night of coughing and sneezing and nose blowing, Christmas finally came, and though I still felt greener than the Grinch, I was able to muster up enough holiday cheer to make the trip downstairs to the couch to open presents.

There weren’t many gifts around our tree, and all the boxes were pretty small.  Nothing on my list could fit in any of these boxes, I thought.  I figured my mother was right.  Santa really had had a rough year.

 

I opened the biggest present first.  I eagerly tore at the wrapping paper until it lay in a crumpled heap at the foot of the couch.  I was left with a plain white box, which I opened to discover one of those white Coca-Cola bears that McDonald’s used to sell at Christmas time for a few bucks when you bought something from the menu.

My brother opened his first present, and he got a white Coca-Cola bear too.  We glanced at each other as if to ask, “Did you have this on your list?”  Then we both looked away as if to say, “Me neither.”

I opened my next present, and my brother opened his.  We looked at each other again, “Nope, me neither.”

 

When we finished unwrapping all our presents, we were both left with the entire collection of toys that McDonald’s had offered with their Happy Meals for the month of December.  My mother must have sensed our disappointment because she went into her bedroom to bring out two more presents.

“I got you each one more gift,” she said with a smile.

My brother’s face lit up and so did mine, and we had the presents unwrapped before they even left her hand.  Our eagerness quickly turned to confusion.  I received the movie The Addam’s Family and he received Charlotte’s Web.  We looked at each other one final time, “Nope, me neither.”

 

After sitting in silence for a moment, my mother started talking.

“Santa had to eat McDonald’s Happy Meals for two week straight so you could have Christmas presents this year,” she said, still smiling.

Slowly, smiles broke out across our faces.  We argued over who would get to watch his movie first, and the rest of our Christmas was spent watching the same two movies over and over again until we both fell asleep on the couch.

 

Every year, at Christmas time, I think back to that Christmas.  I remember how sick I was, and I remember how disappointed I was.  At the time, I would have said that that was the worst Christmas ever, but each year, the memory of that Christmas glows a bit brighter.  Each year, I think of that Coca-Cola bear, those Beanie Babies, and those movies, and I am reminded of the strength of my mother’s love for her two sons.  I am reminded that it truly is the thought and the love that is behind the gift and not the gift itself that matters most.  Twenty years later, I think back to that Christmas, and I remember it as the best Christmas ever!

Christmas Day

On a Christmas Day sprinkled with white

Came good wishes from friends, laughter with family

And even surprise good tidings from an ex

There are smells of apple cinnamon

And sounds of Christmas music

And sights of twinkling lights

Though I sit here single and alone

I’m not lonely

Cause while I don’t have around me every loved one

I still feel their love in the distance

And my heart stays warm.

Santa Baby

This week staff writer Frank Friedlander gives us a holiday post those with  young kids can relate to. Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy Holiday!

 

The good news is that we’ve long since finished our holiday shopping. We won’t have to brave the madness that is last minute shopping at the mall. Everything is wrapped and ready to go.

 

Where am I going with this? I’m not quite certain. What I do know is that this will be the first Christmas morning in which Francie is somewhat aware of what’s going on. Her first Christmas, she was four months old and hadn’t a clue. The next year, when she awoke that morning and was given gifts, she was happy then, but again, hadn’t a clue why.

 

This year, she knows Christmas is coming. She knows presents are coming. She may not be quite sure of the exact timeline, but she’s ready. She knows that Santa is bringing her things. She knows who Santa is. She likes Santa, from a distance, anyway. Once she gets close up, that’s a different story; she clings to mommy or daddy like a monkey to a tree. Then when we walk away, she wants to watch him again, from a distance. Kind of like a bird watcher would.

 

Kind of ironic how parents spend eleven months out of the year preaching stranger danger to our children, but that final month, all bets are off. Hey sweetie, see that guy with the beard, funny outfit, and a mug of eggnog? We want you to sit on his lap and tell him everything you want. “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas,” he bellows.

 

And then we freak out a few months later when she walks up to some random vagrant with similar qualities just because the eggnog has been replaced with cheap bourbon and “Ho! Ho! Ho, Merry Christmas!” has been replaced with “The end is near! Judgment day is upon us! Repent for your sins!”