Wednesday, 9 December 2015

12 days of Christmas {a Comprehensive List to Help You Make Merry}

I wanted to throw down some ideas in ink about how we would celebrate Christmastide well ahead of time.  I'd like to grow traditions every year, and I adore making each of the twelve days distinct according to the liturgical calendar.  There's no way one family could accomplish all these things, but in order to decide what was more important and what was possible when, I wanted to have all the ideas spread out before me.

I hit up resources like A Knotted Life, Catholic Culture, and Catholic All Year for inspiration.  This is the list I came up with, starting on Christmas Eve and ending on Epiphany.  Maybe you can make use of it, too!


Dec. 24 | Christmas Eve

  • decorate the Christmas tree
  • bake Christmas cookies for Santa
  • attend Christmas vigil

Dec. 25 | Christmas Day

  • go Christmas caroling
  • put on a Christmas mystery play
  • start reading The Nutcracker (one or both versions)

Dec. 26 | St. Stephen's Day, 2nd Day of Christmas

  • visit a hospital, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen
  • take the money your children tithed throughout Advent and give to a charity of their choice
  • open the Sparkle Box
  • sing "Good King Wenceslas" and learn about Saint Wenceslas

Dec. 27 | Feast of the Holy Family, 3rd Day of Christmas

  • bake bread
  • put out/decorate the creche
  • have a family day at home with seasonally themed movies and books

Dec. 28 | Feast of the Holy Innocents, 4th Day of Christmas

  • offer Mass or say a Rosary for aborted and unborn babies
  • volunteer at a Catholic Charities or adoption center

Dec. 29 | 5th Day of Christmas

  • s'mores and hot chocolate around the fireplace or bonfire

Dec. 30 | 6th Day of Christmas

  • go ice skating, see a light display, or some other outdoor activity

Dec. 31 | New Year's Eve, 7th Day of Christmas

  • fireworks and cocktails!!!!
  • read "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen

Jan. 1 | Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and New Year's Day, 8th Day of Christmas

  • have an open house--practice the traditional New Year's Day art of hospitality
  • attend Mass for the Solemnity

Jan. 2 | St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory, 9th Day of Christmas

  • visit godparents and/or give them special gifts or write them letters
  • visit with friends

Jan. 3 | 10th Day of Christmas

  • visit the library or bookstore
  • hit up shops for discount Christmas decorations!

Jan. 4 | 11th Day of Christmas

  • make candles for the coming year
  • make homemade wreaths or bring in greenery to brighten up the winter house

Jan. 5 | 12th Day of Christmas

  • have a Shakespearian gathering or read-through of Twelfth Night
  • put on the play or watch it on film

Jan. 6 | Epiphany

  • Little Christmas--give gifts and feast, throw an Epiphany party!
  • make a king cake and have an Epiphany king or queen in your family or community


Do you celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas?  What does your family do to keep Christmastide?  Have anything else to add to the list above?


  1. When I was growing up some family friends always had a "12th night" party and, besides Christmas, it was something I looked forward to every year. They never had King cake though... Baked Alaska was their dessert of choice (maybe because they liked to light things on fire?! )

    1. WHOA. I just looked up baked Alaska, and that looks better than a king cake!


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