This is the first year that we have celebrated the twelve days of Christmas. The celebrating doesn't end on Dec. 26th, oh no...it's just the beginning! The Christmas season doesn't even begin until the 25th and then continues on until the Baptism of the Lord which is January 9th.
I've heard of families who celebrate the twelve days of Christmas by having the family unwrap a gift each evening. Usually something for the whole family to enjoy, a game or movie.... I just couldn't justify buying our children MORE since they had just received so much. So on Christmas day, my sister and I sat on the couch brainstorming how we could celebrate these next twelve days. I started thinking that since we were all given so much and our family had been so generous to us, that we should turn around and share and spread that generosity to others. Instead of focusing on us, for the next twelve days we would focus on others.
I've had for years these twelve numbers and have always wondered what I could do with them. So, I cut them out and glued them to card stock. Then I glued to the back the explanation of the number. The song was a cover up way to spread Christanity. One partridge symbolizes God and his love for us. Two turtle doves is for the two books of the bible, the Old and New Testament. Three french hens stands for faith, hope and love. Four calling birds are the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Five golden rings symbolized the five precious wounds of Christ. Six geese a-laying is for creation. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Seven swans a-swimming is the seven sacraments. Eight maids a-milking is for the eight beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing is the nine choirs of angels. Ten lords a-leaping is the ten commandments. Eleven pipers pipping stands for the eleven of the twelve apostles that remained faithful to Jesus. And twelve drummers drumming stands for the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Then I came up with a list of twelve different things we could do for others to show generosity. We would do one each day.
1. Donate a toy to a needy child
2."Ring and Run" we delivered goodies to a friends house, rang the doorbell and ran back to Sherman.
3. Made two fleece tie blankets and delivered them to the NICU at St. Elizabeth's.
4. Visit a nursing home
5. Invited a family that we never had over before, for dinner.
6. Took a New Year's Day dinner over to a family who had just moved into a new house.
7. Prayed a rosary for someone in need.
8. Took a jar of cookies to the Police dept. thanking them for protecting us (and getting to visit grandpa Tom and sit in his chair!)
9. Watch a friends children for the day
10. Deliver cookies to Matt Talbot Kitchen
11. Wrote a letter to a seminarian
12. Sent a care package to a friends brother who is in the navy.
It turned out to be a beautiful twelve days. I found myself focusing on the needs of others which was the whole point. I think the kids got it too....they really enjoyed taking the baby blankets to the hospital and handing them to the nurses. We tried to say a prayer for whoever we were doing something for that day.
It was an incredible way to end our Advent, and Christmas season.