Merry Christmas! I hope you have had a wonderful celebration of God’s gift of love to us in his son Jesus. I often hear people call opening gifts “doing Christmas,” as in “We did Christmas with my family today and tomorrow we will do Christmas with my in-laws.” It is good to spend time with family and open carefully chosen gifts from loved ones but let’s expand the definition of what it means to “do Christmas.”
Christmas is a whole season in the church year set aside for feasting. The Incarnation is a reminder that this world and all the things in it were made to be good and can be redeemed. Intentionally set aside time for “feasting” in the Christmas season. It may feel a little silly when everyone else around you is moving on but you have permission and even an obligation to celebrate fully. Let’s “do Christmas” by making it stretch the whole twelve days from Christmas Day to January 5.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can celebrate Christmas for the whole 12 days.
- Spend time reading and meditating on the narratives of Jesus’ birth in Luke and Matthew.
- Give gifts to the service workers who make your life easier like the mail carrier who just worked overtimed bringing gifts or the trusty barista who remembers your order.
- Keep your Christmas tree up.
- Move the wise men a little each day until they reach the other figures in your nativity on Epiphany.
- Leave some gifts unopened to enjoy throughout the Christmas season.
- Decorate a tree outdoors to feed the birds with strings of popcorn and birdseed ornaments.
- Go for a walk to see Christmas lights at the Arboretum, the zoo, or in your neighborhood.
- Read some Christmas poetry like “Love Came Down at Christmas,” “Journey of the Magi,” or “For the Time Being.”
- Keep lighting your Advent candles. If they have burned all the way down replace them with white candles, which is the liturgical color of the season.
- Invite a friend or neighbor you’ve been meaning to get to know better over for a festive dinner.
- Do the Christmas baking you were to busy to do before Christmas and take cookies to a friend.
- Make bags of snacks, warm clothing, hygiene items, and gift cards for people who are homeless.
- Send your Christmas cards. It’s not too late!
- Make a playlist of your favorite Christmas songs that celebrate the arrival of Jesus.
- Watch a Christmas movie like “The Nativity Story” or “The Star.”
- Go caroling and bring cards to a nursing home.
- Host a Twelfth Night or a Three Kings party to celebrate the end of the Christmas season.
- When you put your Christmas decorations away, keep some star decorations out for Epiphany.