Does the Christmas celebration seem focused on just one day? Do you desire to find a way to celebrate the whole season and keep the tree up, eggnog flowing, all while growing in your faith?
This year Catholic-Link YouTube will provide daily video reflections to help bring alive the Season of Christmas! We will be playing off “The 12 Days of Christmas Carol,” as we celebrate both the Octave and Season, ending with the Baptism of the Lord. These videos will provide a teaching, reflection, and practical way to help you celebrate and build lasting traditions!
How To Life Out The 12 Days Of Christmas
Though in this life we may sacrifice and suffer much, as Christians, we need to also know how to celebrate well. In doing these things and spending time in reflection, each of us can find the true “reason for the season” as we extend the gifts of Christmas into all facets of our lives.
Living Liturgically During The Christmas Season
In today’s culture, regardless of your denomination or faith, the Christmas season is celebrated throughout Advent, and by the time the feast of Christmas comes, the world is over it, and the trees are out on the front curb.
As Christians, the days leading up to Christmas should be a penitential and preparational season, think mini Lent. But when Christmas comes, Christians need to celebrate the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, which is what Christmas is all about! Jesus is alive. He has come into the world and come into us. The birth of Jesus is powerful, and it is the most significant gift we could be given! We owe it to ourselves even in our exhaustion and with many things tugging us to move on to sit and celebrate.
Our prayer is these videos help you foster liturgical living to the fullest this Christmas. You can watch them in advance to help you prepare or they are perfect for a daily morning devotion to plan fun things for your day, maybe learn a little, unite to a Saint, and love yourself.
History of the Carol and Christmas Season
The seemingly secular and materialism focused carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” was written in England in the mid-1700s under repressive and discriminating laws. However, it is believed that through these secular symbols, the underground Catholic Church at the time helped continue to catechize or teach the faith to children.
The repetition provides training and stresses God’s constant renewal of his gifts to us, his people. And as you can imagine, the true love presenting the 12 gifts throughout the song is God himself. Our Father, the Alpha and the Omega, who grants us more than we can ever earn. He is the true miracle of love!
When this song was written, the Feast of Christmas ran until January 6th, when the Epiphany was celebrated. However, in 1970, the celebration of the Epiphany was moved to the first Sunday following Christmas, and the liturgical season of Christmas runs until the following Sunday when the Baptism of the Lord occurs. We believe this carol still provides excellent opportunities for reflections and teachings that we will use for this video series.
Building Family Traditions
Traditions help to build our family identity, to create belonging, and a deeper connection. Far too often, the practice of the days following Christmas are focused on cleaning up the decorations, regretting the credit card bills, and transitioning back to work and school. The buildup hits its peak, and we fade out long before the feast, and even more, the full season of Christmas is over.
However, as “normal life” starts back up, it can be hard to keep track of the feast and the joy. We hope this video series can help you redefine this season and live the celebration throughout the entire season. We hope this enables you to experience the love of Jesus and his Church, allowing that miracle to expand past one day into all facets of your life. May this be our gift to you!
Find all the videos here as they become available!
The 12 Days of Christmas Tradition Summary
Want to get ahead and plan some events, here is a quick list of some tradition ideas! But make sure to tune in for more and how they connect to our faith, a reflection to listen to and questions and scripture to daily pray with.
- Can color a picture of the 12 days of Christmas song, or daily Saint
- Read/give a special book every day about Christmas, the library often has great options
- Do something physical to act out the days teaching or play a game
Christmas Day 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Jesus and The Cross
- Pear pampering with a pear recipe, for example, pear gorgonzola salad or pear gift of lotion, body soap, for you are worthy.
- Waiting to open presents until after attending Mass, reading the Gospel accounts, or watching a Nativity movie as a family.
- See Jesus as the true gift, the radical and best gift of today. Bake a special birthday cake for Jesus.
Day 2: Two Turtle Doves: Two Covenants
- Savor Dove ice cream, give dove chocolate or soap as gifts.
- Keep saying Merry Christmas, give a gift of love to a friend or spouse. Spend some time writing a list of surrender and saying extra prayers of mercy for someone who has hurt you.
- Spend time reading a passage from the Old and New Testament, The Book Acts chapters 5-6, or changing your planners out, reflecting on how God has fulfilled his old promises to you and brought newness into your life.
Day 3: Three French Hens: Wisemen Gifts & The Three Theological Virtues
- French food, wine, deserts! And lots of eggs, with some French press coffee. French fashion is renowned; wear something that makes you feel French and fresh.
- Give out or buy yourself a miraculous medal or French manicure/pedicure.
- Spend time reflecting on your “why,” Saint John’s gospel, and all the gifts Jesus has provided you. Think of how you have given today as a gift to Jesus. Really focus on how you can cultivate Faith, Hope and Charity today.
Day 4: Four Calling Birds: The Four Evangelists, Four Major Prophets & Mysteries of the Rosary
- Buy, give or make a new phone case or phone screen saver photo. Choosing a photo that helps you bring Christ into your phone calls, to help share the good news and prepare the way for the Lord. Spend time praying with a passage from each of the gospels today or praying a Rosary.
- Write your thank you calling cards, sending, and giving stationary. Write a thank you card to Jesus, reflecting on your story. Start a gratitude journal.
- Spend time reflecting on how you can unite your suffering to Christ, turning to Christ to console our hearts, and praying for the intercession of the Holy Innocents.
Day 5: Five Golden Rings: The Pentateuch, Nature of God & Wounds of Christ.
- Giving out and treat yourself to donuts!
- Adoring yourself in gold accessories. Wearing gold earrings, and a link or chain bracelet. Get your wedding rings cleaned.
- Praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet, reflecting on each of the wounds of Christ and his Thirst for us. Spending time in the first five books of the Old Testament.
Day 6: Six Geese a Laying: New Life & The Sixth Day of Creation
- Make egg omelets and deviled eggs with some dyed eggs after a fun egg hunt. Cheers to God’s work of creation with some homemade bone broth, a Grey Goose cosmopolitan, or eggnog!
- Try having six new experiences. Including selecting a new Saint to build a deep friendship with this next year.
- Give a plant, new goose down feather blankets or pillows as a gift today. Spend time reflecting on relationships that have given you new life, sacrificed much for you or called you out of your comfort zone to bear great fruit.
Day 7: Seven Swans a Swimming: Sabbath, Seven Sacraments, Gifts of the Holy Spirit & Seven Virtues
- Make time to rest. Enjoy some bath salt soaking or pool time beside still waters. Give out bath bombs today as gifts, with a print out of the Baptismal Promises.
- Attend a New Years’ Eve Vigil Mass of Thanksgiving, in honor of Mary, The Mother of God. Create a list and photo display of the seven greatest moments from the last year, seven things I am most grateful for, and seven goals for the next year.
- Spend time studying or praying for a specific virtue or gift of the Holy Spirit.
Day 8: Eight Maids a Milking: The Eight Beatitudes
- Reorganize and donate at least eight items or maybe bags of items! Make or go out for milkshakes after Mass, or have Oreos with a tall glass of milk.
- Spend time reading and reflecting on Matthew 5:1-12. Do something special for your earthly and heavenly mother, in honor of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
- Reflect on your attitude and focus this last week, looking at what brings you true joy and life to the fullest.
Day 9: Nine Ladies Dancing: Nine Choirs of Angles & Novenas
- Start a Novena, plan what Novenas you want to commit to this year. Spend time reflecting on the gift of your guardian angel and cultivating a relationship with them.
- Reach out and message nine people, extending invitations to host them or have a zoom call to catch up. Pray for friendships that will truly inspire, grow and challenge us through the intercession of Saint Basil and Saint Gregory.
- Make an angel food cake while listening and having a dance party to some praise and worship music.
Day 10: Ten Lords a Leaping: The Ten Commandments
- Wear, order or give out some unique socks today, maybe Religious Socks.
- Go on a walk, hike, or spend time in Adoration, in silence and contemplating the holy name of Jesus.
- Give out or hang up a copy of the ten commandments. Spend time reflecting on how the law is a gift of love to bring us true joy.
Day 11: Eleven Pipers Piping: Faithful Apostles
- Create a personal morning reflection or retreat, with an 11 o’clock prayer time with Adoration (even if just digitally). Focus on how to bring new heat to your faith and reflecting on the Papacy and gift of Apostolic succession.
- Enjoy some piping hot tea, or soup, while listening to bagpipe music. Reflecting on how God has been faithful to you and how you can be faithful in your commitments and to him.
- Work in/donate to a soup kitchen or invite someone over to serve others a hot meal. Make a donation to a Catholic school.
Day 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming: Fruits of the Spirit, Minor Prophets & Twelve Articles of the Apostles Creed
- Throw a party for ourselves, our friends, or family with lots of drumming and serve a fruit salad.
- Spend time reflecting on how you are called to be a Saint. What you have learned these last twelve days. Spend 12 extra minutes in Scripture today with the words of the minor prophets.
- Print or give out framed copies of the Apostle’s Creed. Spend time reflecting on the meaning of each article and looking up things you don’t understand in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you don’t own one buy a Catechism for your family.
Find a shopping list here: https://kit.co/totheheightsministry/12-days-of-christmas
And tune in for ways to purposefully live out the rest of the Christmas Season! Merry Christmas!
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