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Trialling Christmastide (12 days of Christmas)

The days after Christmas sometimes feel like a sigh of relief. All the preparations are over, the events catered for, the presents unwrapped. In Australia it means now the summer holidays really begin.

As a child, though, I remember feeling a bit let down the day after Christmas. After all, Christmas Day is never so far away as on Boxing Day! I wished that the festivities could continue.

In the western liturgical calendar, they do! Christmas Day is actually the first day of the Christmas festival which goes for 12 days. It represents a time after Jesus has been born, as the wise men are journeying to him, inviting us to consider our response to Jesus.

Arthur has been keen for our family to shape itself around the church year. In his view, you’re following some kind of yearly rhythm whether it be the school year or the financial year or the northern hemisphere idea of four seasons. So why not join in with what Christians in centuries past have done and shape to your year around Jesus, allowing these rhythms to disciple us. Doing so is not a move away from the word as the thing that shapes us either, but a move towards embodying the word. So I was not surprised when he suggested that we do Christmastide. After observing Advent, Lent and Pentecost, it was a natural step. But I did also think, “Great, something else for me to mental load.”

However, we’ve both got days off over this period and are approaching it as a team. Arthur’s putting together and leading daily devotions and some activities. We’re going to use a resource from the Church of England and make a star to move around the house each day.

Meanwhile I’m organising a special food or drink for each day. The idea of it is nothing more than to signify ‘we’re still in a feasting time’. Perhaps I had the 12 days of Christmas song on my mind because I chose a theme of foods that are also animals though we won’t do a certain number of them and several of them may only loosely resemble the original dish. So, for the 11 days after Christmas day we will do (not necessarily in this order):

  • grasshopper (drink)
  • snails (pastry)
  • toad in a hole
  • ants on a log
  • buffalo wings
  • butterfly cakes
  • moose (mousse)
  • brown cow (drink)
  • bear claw (once I learn how to make these!)
  • hedgehog slice
  • spider (drink)

This is the first time for us, so it’s a bit of a trial run and we’ll see how it goes.

Categories: Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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