Today is January 6th. The 12 days of Christmas begins on December 25 and ends today. The Catholic Liturgical calendar calls this the Epiphany, or the naming of Jesus. My mom always called it "Little Christmas".
For the last 15 years (at least), we've been putting the Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve. It is my job to adjust the artificial branches to make them more life-like; it is my wombmate's job to string the lights, and then my mom joins in and the three of us trim the tree with ornaments and garland. Bing Crosby and Vince Guaraldi (aka A Charlie Brown Christmas) are musical staples. The rest of the house has already been decorated -- my mom adds a little during each week of Advent, signifying the preparation. The tree and decorations remain until January 7th.
On January 6th, my mom used to place an extra gift in our stockings. I wish I could remember what they were, but they were always fun, a special little extra surprise. Just a Little gift for Little Christmas. We honored the day. And in more recent years, I've named the year. Change. Love. Trying New Things. Last year was Farewell to My Thirties.
For the last 10 years, I've not gone through the untrimming of the tree (sadly, my mom has to do that all by herself), and I've not "celebrated" Little Christmas. I don't decorate my apartment since I spend so much of the holiday somewhere else. I don't hang a stocking, and no one leaves a special gift. I miss such traditions.
So tonight I am beginning a new one. Send a message to someone you love. Let them know that you're thinking of them, that you love and appreciate them. Offer a prayer or happy thought. Perhaps even buy a little trinket, a candy bar, a leftover stocking stuffer. Wrap it with a little bow. Wish someone a happy Little Christmas. Name your year, but keep that little gift to yourself. Take time to notice and give thanks for the little things.
You'd be surprised how something so small makes a heart so big.
Happy Little Christmas, friends.