1/52: Twelve Days & Epiphany

Monday, January 7, 2019



I found my camera charger! It was under the wine rack. No idea why. Sadly, that means there weren't any pictures taken of any of our "Twelve Days of Christmas" activities except for Play Doh Day... Ah well, such is life.

Interestingly, it seems that this year is probably the year when I should have switched from Play Doh to modeling clay, because all the girls were getting VERY elaborate in their creations, but Play Doh has to be put away before it dries up, whereas modeling clay doesn't. I will certainly forget by next Christmas, but hey, it's the thought that counts?

They got out the field guides and made a whole museum full of different bird varieties, which made me feel really good about the decision to take a nice long break from formal schooling. I do think we would be quite a successful unschooling family if we were ever to pursue that route, solely because these kids read so stinking much. But a little bit of structure is good for peace in the home ;)

On Sunday we celebrated Epiphany in what has become our typical family fashion: three presents per child, and King Cake after dinner! (If you're curious, I used this recipe for the King Cake but I subbed in grated apple instead of banana and it was really quite delicious, but MUCH too large for just one cake. I cut it in half and froze the rest for Mardi Gras. I think I'll use the same recipe next year, but shape it into two separate cakes)

Years ago, frustrated by the busy-ness of Christmastide and what felt like an absolute inundation of presents from kind friends and relatives, I decided that rather than get grumpy at people's generosity (because truly, it is FUN to give gifts, particularly to children, and I'm not going to ask people to stop), I would just try to spread things out and do our nuclear family celebration on Epiphany instead of trying to squeeze it in on Christmas Day. This is our 5th year doing things that way and it has brought so much peace! I highly, highly recommend shifting some of your "gift" focus to Epiphany if possible - the kids understand that Baby Jesus got his presents on Epiphany (okay, and maybe like, a year later but we'll be as authentic as we want to be), that he got THREE presents and only three, so that's what they get, and it allows Christmas to be more about the Incarnation than about presents (to a point. They still get stockings and presents from relatives on Christmas Day!).

Sadly, the baby in the King Cake ended up getting a little exposed during the choosing of the pieces, so the King selection was invalidated and everyone won (or lost, depending). Luckily our Mardi Gras party is already planned (the rest of the frozen appetizers from our New Year's feast), so all the kids will work together to "host" the party that we'll be having while I snuggle a newborn (um yes, we will have a new baby in the house by Mardi Gras!!!).

Lots of people have asked about our traditions on Facebook and Instagram, so I thought I'd write them up here for all who are curious! From a practical standpoint, it's also nice to wait until Epiphany to do family gifts because then you don't have to wrap anything until January 5th... And I wrap everything in gift bags anyway, so it only took 20 minutes!

Interestingly, I didn't find after-Christmas deals were a compelling reason to do things this way, the prices & availability of gifts were actually far better in November online and in actual stores the week before Christmas (70% off all Christmas things at Michael's started EARLY and they had tons of huge sales on other things, so I think next year I'm going to do a lot of my shopping there).

2 comments:

  1. you have a great plan/system for celebrating epiphany!! we put out our wise men with our nativity and made cupcakes...and of course went to mass. Our families have shifted from gifts you can hold to experiences done together, and that has made the advent/christmas season fun and spread out. Grandparents even braved the chilly temps to take very bundled kids to the beach!

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    Replies
    1. I think we need to shift more to experiences next year - I honestly don't have the energy for experiences this year anyway ;) But if we can do a family trip as a big gift to everyone, that would be awesome!

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