3 Reasons We Celebrate 12 Days of Christmas

For Christians, Christmas is a huge deal. That's one reason why we take 12 whole days to celebrate it.

Did you ever wake up the morning after Christmas as a child totally dejected that the celebration was over already? You spent weeks (or even months) anticipating the big day, and it was over in just a few hours. It almost seemed wrong. Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas extends the joy for almost two weeks.

For Christians, Christmas is a huge deal. We’re celebrating the staggering fact that God became a man.

Here are three reasons we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.

Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas gives the holiday its proper weight.

The Israelites spent eight whole days celebrating Passover. They spent eight whole days celebrating the Feast of Booths.

The truth that God became Man to redeem mankind is even more incredible than Passover. Medieval Christians thought so, and so they reasoned that we should celebrate Christmas even longer than Passover was celebrated.

I think they got this right. That’s one reason why we’re celebrating the 12 days of Christmas.Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas lets us bask in the whole story

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas also allows up to bask in the whole story.

While it’s totally possible to enjoy the whole Christmas story during advent and Christmas day, celebrating the 12 days of Christmas allows us to highlight and rejoice in each aspect: Jesus coming as Messiah, His humble birth in a manger, the visit of the Shepherds, the worship of the wise men.

It gives us time to grieve over the death of the innocent baby boys in Bethlehem and rejoice that Jesus came to conquer death.

Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas is practical

We’ve settled the point that Christmas deserves to be celebrated BIG, but the practical result if you try to cram all the bigness into one day, is totally overwhelmed kids (and moms.)

Of all the holidays, Christmas is the most material. It celebrates God becoming a Man after all. Real tangible gifts are one way to celebrate that. But sometimes the meaning can be completely drowned in piles of wrapping paper.

Since both of our family’s live in the area, this “problem” is compounded. We celebrate Christmas Eve with my family, then head over around midnight to spend Christmas day with Joshua’s family. (Yes, our families are crazy night owls.) Both celebrations result in a staggering amount of goodies.

Trying to squeeze our own family celebration into the mix is way too insane. With 11 more days to work with, we can spread out our gifts to the children instead of having them get lost in golden glitter at the grandparents.

Also, if you want to take advantage of after-Christmas sales (or, ahem, procrastinated) celebrating for twelve days gives you the flexibility to shop after Christmas!

Ever wonder what the 12 days of Christmas were about? This is why we celebrate them.

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Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas deserves to be celebrated big because God became man to redeem us. Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas allows us to give it more of the celebration it deserves, bask in the whole grand story, and avoid glitter overload.

But if the thought of finding 12 gifts for each child is totally overwhelming, you’re not alone. Here are some of the simple ways we celebrate without breaking the bank (or driving this minimalist mama crazy) while making wonderful memories.

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  1. Emilie says

    How rude! 😉
    I’m planning to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas this year and I wad all geared up to hear your ideas. What a tease! I can’t wait to read your next post.

  2. Amber says

    Looking forward to hearing how you celebrate. What are the 12 days of Christmas? Is it just the 12 days after Christmas and you give a gift each day? We’re doing a Jesse tree, reading about people in the Bible each day. Is there a spiritual aspect of the 12 days of Christmas?
    ~Amber N.

    • anna says

      Amber, the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day. Advent is traditionally about anticipation and looking forward to the coming of Jesus, and then for 12 days we celebrate that He came. It ends on Epiphany, which is when we celebrate the wisemen coming to worship Him (and the fact that Jesus came for us Gentiles too!)

  3. Marilu says

    while in the Army our 4th child was born in December. This hurt our budget at Christmas so we changed things around and started celebrating 12th night. There were a few small gifts in stockings Christmas morning. Christmas Day was spent going to church, reading the Christmas story from the Gospels and cooking with the kids, my kids are in their 30’s and 40’s and they still remember specific days when we made something, burned something… Jesus was moved into the nativity and the kids took turns moving the 3 kings around the room the next 12 days toward the nativity. We took advantage of after Christmas sales, but kept gifts small with the explanation “when it’s your birthday, who gets the gifts? when it’s Christ’s birthday who should get the gifts?” They never complained of feeling denied of anything, we didn’t want them to be materialistic,especially on what should be the holiest day of the year. Especially in our world today, we need to raise more spiritual children. Merry CHRISTmas!! God bless anyone who read this.

    • anna says

      I LOVE this Marilu! Thank so much for sharing. I so agree, we need to raise children with a focus on Christ and others, not just on what they can get!

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