If all goes according to plan, we’ll be getting our Christmas tree this afternoon. As usual, however, my kids have been pestering me to get one for three weeks solid, despite the fact that every year, we are always among the last of our friends and neighbors to get one. Despite the fact that I’ve told them repeatedly that I like to wait to get the tree until fairly close to Christmas Day so that it will last until Epiphany (January 6).
And it’s because I like to maintain this tradition that the misunderstanding I see of the concept of the “12 Days of Christmas” during this time of year tends to drive me a little batty. A lot of people (not to mention businesses) seem to think that the 12 Days of Christmas are the 12 days before Christmas, but the 12 days actually start with Christmas and end on January 5th, the day before Epiphany (which, according to tradition, is when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem). It’s not Christmas yet, folks. It’s Advent. We’re supposed to be ANTICIPATING Christmas now, not CELEBRATING it !
Now, I don’t know quite WHY I’m so adamant about this point of Christian tradition, seeing as how I don’t identify religiously as a Christian. Although we celebrate Christmas, the holiday is decidedly secular in our household, more solstice-related than anything else. I do have to admit, however, to a fondness for nativity scenes (I made one myself in the 6th grade as an art project), unabashedly religious Christmas carols, and for the whole story of Jesus’s birth. I guess I’m a sucker for music and babies, lol.
Anyway, as I say, this is a mini-rant not a major one, so I’m not going to browbeat you if you started the Twelve Days of Christmas on the 13th. But hey, maybe next year, you can try starting on the 25th instead .