Here in the Chicago suburban hamlet of Glen Ellyn, lights are coming off houses and brittle Christmas trees are blowing about the parkways. The packages have been opened, unwanted gifts returned and folks are getting ready for New Year’s Eve.
Most people who have recordings of the 12 Days of Christmas have put them away until next Thanksgiving. But we’re still in the 12 Days of Christmas.
Those special days don’t end on Christmas Day – that’s when they start (well, actually, the day AFTER Christmas). They end on Epiphany, which comes on January 6. Jesus was born December 25, and 12 days later the wise men showed up with their gifts. That’s Epiphany. And in some Christian traditions, that is when people give gifts.
That actually makes a lot of sense to me. You have Advent to get ready for Christ’s birth, 12 days to celebrate and give thanks for his arrival, then gifts. But I fear we’ll have one heck of a time disconnecting the perception that the 12 Days of Christmas are intimately connected to the shopping season.
If you want to listen to the song, “12 Days of Christmas,” you have almost endless options, many of them quite awful…some not so bad. A couple versions at the extremes of musical taste:
By the way….I will continue to wear my silly reindeer sweater until Epiphany. It is a treasured Irish gift from my son and future daughter-in-law.