Retailers love countdowns, one of them being their fake 12 days of Christmas that ends on December 25th. This helps sales, no doubt. But I cringe when I see it because it’s a marketing strategy that pre-empts the reality of the holiday.
Dear retailers: If you need to usurp a holy countdown, use Advent (November 29 – December 24.)
This brings us to December 25th, the first day of Christmas in most traditions, the days that old song refers to.
You probably sing the song at one party or another during “Twelvetide,” and perhaps you know the meaning of the verses:
The Twelve Days, of course, lead up to Twelfth night, the day when in most traditions, the greenery comes out of the house. My neighbors are used to our Christmas lights staying on through the 5th of January. The following day is Epiphany, the day the wise men visited the Christ Child.
I suppose many people sleep through Epiphany if they continue the tradition of the Twelfth Night party where everyone gets drunk:
This looks kind of expensive, so we don’t throw a party. However, if you’re throwing a party, please let us know. The first thing, though, is knowing when the Twelve Days of Christmas begin and end.