If we were living out The Twelve Days of Christmas song, today I would receive the twelve drummers drumming. Since I’m not very far into the new year of organizing my house, I’m not sure where all the people and critters from the song would be stowed away, but it would be a houseful!
Today is Epiphany—traditionally celebrated as the day the Three Wise Men came to see Baby Jesus after the following the star—hence the twelve days of Christmas. Modern Biblical scholars can’t agree on when exactly it was the three made their visit—some say he wasn’t a newborn at all when they saw him, and the twelve days came from something somebody made up. Today’s secular society doesn’t really believe in dragging out the holiday season beyond the post-Christmas sales. Once evening rolls around on December 25th, the radio stations who have been playing only Christmas songs since November 1 abruptly go back to regular programming without much fanfare. I think that’s why I like Christmas Eve better than actual Christmas Day. Because on Christmas Day all the anticipation is behind us and it’s all over. It always makes me a little sad when things are over.
When I was growing up, my Grandpa Long’s birthday, on January 6th (Old Christmas), marked the end of the holidays for us. Maybe it was a little too much family togetherness, but I liked how we “eased” out of the holidays. We kept the Christmas tree up until then, and there wasn’t such a rush to return to the “normalcy” as soon as the clock struck midnight marking the start of a new year. While I love eating and drinking too much and staying up too late over the two weeks of Christmas, as an adult I appreciate the return to schedules and routines. I like buckling down in the New Year and thinking fresh. But still, the idea of a whole twelve days of celebrating Christmas sounds like fun—even if there’s not enough room for those lords a leaping or ladies dancing!