101. The Twelve Days of Christmas

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I tried to be more mindful of the full Orthodox Christmas season this year, savoring the twelve days and trying to extend our Christmas activities beyond December 25 and up to January 6. The most we’ve done in the past is keep our lights up and on until Theophany, but with our son growing older, I wanted to try harder. Mainly, we relaxed and stayed home a lot, playing with Christmas gifts and avoiding the stores. We played Christmas music and kept all the ornaments up. We talked about some of the saints who are celebrated during this period and of course celebrated St. Basil at church, where an older woman handed out gold chocolate coins to all of us. We had a few small gifts during the 12 Days, attended the lights at the local zoo, and started working on a cardboard model of heaven that has been on my mind a lot (more about that in another post.) We started more bulbs (I’d refrigerated them for 8 weeks so they could be forced, so it took some planning), picked all our citrus before a freeze (oranges being a traditional Christmas food!), enjoyed the rare frost, and made popcorn. I assembled the family baptism book (previous post) in time for Theophany. This book was a jumping off point, and I know there are probably more ideas online. I’m glad we made a start, and hopefully we will have more ideas next year!

100. Theophany

We are preparing for Theophany tomorrow, and I’ve finally assembled a simple album of our baptisms and our godchildren’s baptisms (as well as weddings and churchings) to share with our son on Theophany and throughout the year. I used Fotor’s collage tool to assemble simple pages (one for each event) and then printed them on photo paper. I found the idea in Elizabeth White’s book. A second set was sent to godchildren and godparents – baptisms and weddings from California to Wyoming and South Dakota to Texas and Pennsylvania… It’s quite beautiful and touching to gather all of the memories into one special album!
My son has also been greatly enamored of drawing in and creating little homemade booklets the last few days. I suggested we do a Theophany booklet and he chose to draw grass (ie, basil for house blessings), an empty bowl, a censer, a bowl with water and ‘grass’ in it, and an altar cloth. It’s quite adorable. We may do another one of small paper icons pasted into a booklet. I’m astounded at how the new format of a booklet has ignited his desire to draw and then tell the stories of the booklets.
I’d love to hear any of your Theophany traditions and activities as well!