Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas! Today is that day—the twelve drummers drumming day. The day the Magi arrived in Bethlehem long, long ago. Epiphany Eve, Twelfth Night, this is a day with a multitude of names and rich in history. And no matter how you frame it, for many of us, today marks the official end of the Christmas season.
Say it ain’t so.
Okay, I know many of you tossed your tree and packed the ornaments days ago. I get it. I took my tree down just after Christmas this year because it was as dry as a Texas tumbleweed. Even so, just because we pack away Christmas doesn’t mean we have to pack away our Christmas Spirit. There are a few simple ways to make the season last all year.
Twelve ways. For the twelve days of Christmas.
See what I did?
What exactly is Christmas spirit?
I bet everyone has a slightly different definition of Christmas spirit ranging from the pure religious experience to baking pecan pies with Grandma. For me it’s hearing the Salvation Army bell ringers and knowing good is being done (and, of course, angels are getting their wings…) It’s loving one another, forgiving others and ourselves, being patient and compassionate. Christmas spirit is remembering all those childhood memories, the smells and tastes and feelings nearly as big and bright as when they originally happened. It’s doing a little extra for someone, going an extra step.
“Love sought is good, but giv’n unsought is better.”
― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
In the new year, how about we cling to that extra dose of magic hanging in the air? Goodness knows we could use it.
12 ways to make Christmas last (or simply lift your spirits)…
- Be kind. Something as basic as kindness can change lives. Be the good. If it’s negative, don’t assume it, don’t say it, don’t post it, don’t spread it. Instead, be compassionate and positive. Promote occasional random acts of kindness. Pay it forward. Tiny kindnesses can make someone’s day.
- Give. Support your favorite causes year round. A few dollars here and there can make a large difference. Give your time and presence, too.
- Do you have that absolute favorite holiday decoration that makes you sad to pack away? There’s no rule you can’t leave it out. Do it. I decided to leave out a group of angels. Angels aren’t just for Christmas, right? And those twinkle lights on your ficus? Festive is always in season.
- Smile. In a way, it’s true—if you smile, the world will smile with you. You can brighten a stranger’s day with a smile. And you’ll feel better too. Studies prove that using those smiling muscles trigger happiness responders in the brain.
- Make cookies. And make them fancy. Cookies aren’t just for Christmas, y’all. Why not have a Valentine cookie exchange?
- Love one another. Love yourself. And while you’re at it, forgive and apologize.
- Keep a gratitude journal. I’m a big believer in journaling. Writing down one thing a day you’re grateful for will make you, well, more grateful. We have so much.
- Share fun. You don’t need a reason to have a get-together with friends. In this world, we need more social and less media.
- Pray. Meditate. Think. Rest. Exercise. Watch the Hallmark Channel. Whatever it takes to quiet your mind, do that. And guess what, no one gets to decide what works for you.
- Cook satisfying meals. Even for one person (you). Set the table. Light candles. Make it special. Nourish your body and you’ll feel better all around.
- Grow something—a windowsill pot filled with herbs, an African violet, force bulbs in fun containers. Add something alive and green that needs your attention, your care.
- Savor the present. Soak it up, soak it in. There’s goodness all around if you open your heart and mind to it.
And now for an interesting farm story…
Traditionally in England, on the Sunday after Twelfth Night, farmers dragged their ploughs to church for a blessing before returning to the fields on Monday. This marked the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of a new work year. BUT farm work was scarce, especially in winter, so the following Monday—Plough Monday—became somewhat of a celebration, or one more day of holiday. Instead of working, farmers blackened their faces with soot and dragged their ploughs around the villages begging for pennies to start the new year.
What can I say? I love the idea of blessing farm equipment and farmers and farms. And I suppose technically, we can drag the holiday until Plough Monday. So yay for that.
Tell me how you plan to keep goodness going all through the year?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
The funniest version of Twelve Days of Christmas EVER.