While I can go on about the shift in focus from the true Christmas season or why I aim to keep Advent separate from Christmas, for the focus of this blog, I wonder – don’t you productive mamas want to enjoy all the work you did preparing for Christmas? I know I do. (Especially after all that intentional Advent preparation.) And I try to keep some traditions for the (true) Christmas season. This has gotten more difficult now that I have a child in school, but when I was homeschooling everyone, we didn’t return to school work until after Epiphany. So, here are a few simple, low cost ways to keep the Christmas season special. These are not unique or amazing or profoundly theological. Just a few things we do to hold the Christmas season in our hearts and home in this extra-busy and distracted world.
- Small gifts (or hold out on some gifts) – given on the Epiphany/Three Kings Day
- Special movies at home – I try to hold out on our holiday classics until after Christmas day
- Going to the movies – It’s a rare treat for the whole family (or most of us) to go to a theater to see a movie together. You can save up and go all out to a new release or go to the dollar movie.
- Other outings – Christmas light displays or other holiday events that often stay around
until the new year
- Tea – I try to have a small tea to celebrate the Epiphany. This feast day usually falls after kids are back in school and it’s harder to hold on to Christmas when the rest of the world has returned to “normal.” Sometimes it’s just us, sometimes we invite a few friends. We are sure to serve Christmas themed treats, but keep it as simple as we need to. If tea isn’t your family’s thing [I know! I could have said “cup of tea!”], how about just baking some of those Christmas goodies NOW, instead of trying to cram in the baking time during the rush up to Christmas? PS. American Girl or other dolls may be invited.
- Keep the tree up! In fact, wait to put up the tree for as long as you can stand. “Used to be” that people didn’t decorate until Christmas Eve. So keep your tree and decorations out on purpose. Not just because you haven’t gotten around to putting them away. I do love this about the Catholic Church. We don’t decorate until Christmas Eve/Vigil and we keep everything up until the Baptism of our Lord.
- Clothing – continue wearing your ugly Christmas sweaters, your sparkly nail polish, your candy cane hair bows or whatever speaks to you.
- If you put your Nativity Set up during Advent, don’t complete it. Let Mary and Joseph travel across the house to Bethlehem. Don’t put baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas day. Have the shepherds and kings elsewhere and let them arrive during the Twelve days.
- Read Christmas books and stories throughout the season.
- Have a special meal. Consider using the Make Ahead Holiday Meal Planner for something extra special OR just make it be something simple but fun that everyone can enjoy each year, but is realistic and sustainable for you. What is fitting for your family? Hot dog bar, baked potato bar, smoothie bar, nacho bar, Repeat Thanksgiving, tamale night, posole, dumplings, Chinese take out, make-your-own pizza, whatever you like!
- Greet people with “Merry Christmas!”. This is awkward unless you know the person you are greeting is also celebrating, I admit. But try it. I love it!
- PJ Day (or “Chill Out” Day) – I used to revel in a day spent in PJs when my kids were younger. It wasn’t THAT often, but occasionally we had a day where no one had to be anywhere and I loved those! Those don’t come around very often anymore. So take a day during these Twelve to do NOTHING. To chill, lounge, doze, whatever. I like to read a book I received for Christmas. Let the kids watch movies. To make it truly special for me, I try not to cook. One day of popcorn and smoothie dinner makes it something the kids will remember!
- Listen to Christmas music
- ANYTHING that would be special for your family.
I wish you a peaceful Twelve Days of Christmas and beyond…………….Productive Mama and her clan