Celebrating the Real Season of Christmas {December 25 and after}

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Culturally, the Christmas season seems to die down a couple days after December 25.  Christmas music is no longer on the radio.  Christmas decorations are taken down, and stores relocate Christmas items to the clearance section.  This makes perfect sense in a world where we start celebrating Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.  

But for those of us who have been focusing on the waiting and expectation of Christmas during Advent, it's important that the real Christmas season gets it's due.  The Church's Christmas season technically lasts until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is January 11 this year.  

We have been listening to some Christmas music and taking part in many of Christmas traditions, but I really want the Church's Christmas season to really be celebrated.  

To help us celebrate, I plan on continuing with Christmas music, visiting a local lights display, and eating special treats.  We will also be leaving our tree up for the next couple of weeks. 

In addition, there are some important feast days during the Christmas season that can be fun to celebrate.  Below is a list of the feast days and simple ideas for observing them.
Dec. 25 - Christmas

I'm sure you have PLENTY of ideas for celebrating Christmas day, so we'll move on...

Dec. 26 - Feast of St. Stephen (first martyr)

  • Boxing Day, a British tradition celebrated on St. Stephen's Day, is a day to open the poor "boxes" and give to the needy.  As a family, gather items or money to give to the poor or prepare a gift for someone in need.
  • Read or sing "Good King Wenceslas", which is about the real St. Wenceslaus, who went out to do good deeds on St. Stephen's Day

Dec. 27 - Feast of St. John the Evangelist

  • Read the gospel of John (written by St. John).
  • John was the apostle that Jesus most loved.  He is often pictured near or next to Jesus, like at the Last Supper, the Transfiguration, and Jesus' crucifixion.  Have the kids hunt for John in biblical pictures.
  • Drink wine or make hot spiced wine, as it is said St. John drank poisoned wine without getting sick and that wine offered on his feast day is blessed.
  • An eagle is the symbol of St. John.  Go bird watching and look out for eagles.

Dec. 28 (Sunday) - Feast of the Holy Family
  • Prep for mass with our family meeting slideshow
  • Have a family get-together or family outing
  • Eat Lebanese food like Mary would have prepared for Joseph and Jesus.
Dec. 29 -  St. Thomas Becket

  • Have an English tea party and discuss St. Thomas' life, complete with English tea and treats, like crackers, cookies, cheese, and fruits.
  • Bake sword and mitre cookies, with a simple sugar cookie recipe.  Or you could cut sandwiches into swords with mitres.
  • Adults can watch Becket, which is streaming on Netflix!

Dec. 31 - St. Sylvester

  • Make Sylvester Punch, an Austrian tradition of spiced wine/tea
  • Give thanks for the past year and
  • Celebrate the New Year

  • Attend mass (it's a holy day of obligation)
  • Pray a rosary together.
  • Make a simple Blessed Brownie with a fleur-de-lis (a symbol of Mary) on top with icing or powdered sugar
  • Visit the Statue of Mary at church

  • Color a poster for Jesus' name, like this one:

The Most Holy Name of Jesus Coloring Page
Free Printable
Real Life at Home

I'm hoping to plan more for the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord.  Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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