The Final Days of Christmas

New Year’s (7th & 8th Days of Christmas)

I’ve kept these days pretty loose over the years, largely depending on New Year’s Eve plans. Last year everyone in our family of five picked their favorite game to play and we played well into midnight. This year my husband and I did have plans, so I opted for building gingerbread, or should I say graham cracker houses, since finding a gingerbread kit a week after Christmas is nearly impossible. Being a teacher, I usually try to tie this project to their learning by challenging them to build a medieval castle, a colonial home or an Ancient wonder. But this year we picked out the candy in the bulk section of the grocery store and I let their imaginations run loose. I’m a bit surprised that the 14 and 18 year old still enjoy this tradition and take it as seriously as they do. Their creations are still sitting on our kitchen counter, except for the youngest’s which was quickly lost to the dog.

The 9th Day of Christmas

What to do with the last day of vacation for the kids and myself? I had planned a snowshoe outing for New Year’s Eve day, but my father, a retired meteorologist, suggested we put that off a day or two since a big storm was in the works. He was right, as he most often is. Sunday was a perfect day to be in and see the mountains. I wasn’t sure if everyone in my family would be down for a 1.5 mile snowshoe trek, but they all showed up at the mountain in the appropriate gear and though some lagged behind on this ranger led adventure, they managed to get their own personal tour with the ranger who lagged behind with them.

10th-12th Days of Christmas

Once back to school, activities and work, we don’t come together as a family until after seven o’clock each night, so these days became the gift-giving days. I forced everyone to stay in their rooms while I hid clues around the house, sometimes individual clues to each present hid in a different location and sometimes clues they all had to work together to find. So days ten and eleven concluded with a gift to wear and a gift they wanted.

Day of Epiphany

According to many church calendars, the celebration of Christmas concludes with the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th. This is the day we remember the journey of the Magi and the three gifts they bring to Jesus, not in the manger as is depicted in many a nativity set, but quite a while later. Different cultures celebrate this day in different ways and for some this marks the gift-giving portion of the holiday season with the Christmas season stretching to Feb 2nd or Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple. Candlemas marks the official end of the Christmas season and in many Christian cultures is when the decorations are taken down. Unbeknownst to me I’ve already been honoring this tradition as it takes me the entire month of January to slowly undecorate my house. But for the Feast of Epiphany one is supposed to hide a bean in a King cake. I like the idea of cake, but without time to prepare one, I bought a small cake, affixed the three kings to it and we opened some Christmas crackers. No bean and not a huge undertaking, but a simple way to mark the day and the end of this portion of the Christmas season…on to “regular” life.

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