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Twelve Days of Christmas – What’s it really about?

Photo: flickr-creativecommons

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” is on my mind, so I did some research to find out just what IS “The Thing” about the TDoC.

I heard right after Thanksgiving that the Partridge in a pear tree, Turtle Doves, French Hens, Calling Birds, Five Golden Rings, Laying Geese, Swimming Swans, Milk Maids, Waiting Ladies, Leaping Lords, Pipers and Drummers cost a lot more in 2011. $101,119.84! Up 4.4% from 2010 and a whopping $88,469 increase from Christmas 1984!

It looks to me it might be a better idea to get just one of each item on the list…you know, it’s not about quantity, but quality and “the thought that counts.” On second thought, maybe just thinking about getting one of each is more economically feasible. Besides, I also heard that the Leaping Lords can’t catch as much air or have as much hang time as they did 25 years ago. (Where’s Flubber when you need it?)

Alright, aging, economics and fanciful inventiveness aside, The Twelve Days of Christmas is a centuries old EASTERN (read European) tradition that is, by some estimations (as I determined in my research) lost on us in our United States as the “relatively” young kid on the block. Some observe that marketing and promotion in the name of WESTERN capitalism has caused “the twelve days” to begin on December 14 and end on Christmas Eve. THE Thing; the Real Story: Twelve Days of Christmas (for The Reason for the season) are 12 days beginning Christmas day and continuing through January 5th or 6th. It’s the Epiphany of Jesus.

Whether it ends January 5th or 6th seems dependent on what church you attend. I’m not preaching anything, just observing and sharing. Additionally, my research tells me just calculating WHEN the 12 days end is complicated, let alone HOW it’s celebrated! Something it does include is getting presents EVERY DAY; hence, the Twelve Days of Christmas Gift List, and the accompanying requisite celebration/feasting!

I’m thinking let’s go with the best of both ideas: combine all the giving/feasting traditions of West and East… start the party December 14 and continue till January 6th! By extension, instead of being off only Christmas Eve-Day and New Years Eve-Day, just shut down EVERY thing starting December 14, and take roughly the WHOLE MONTH off work!! Hey – maybe that’s what was done all that time ago: The Twelve Days gifts were given, ensuring there was plenty to eat and lots of entertainment with time off for family! It might work in this millennium!

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