The tree is trimmed, the presents are wrapped, the stockings are hung and the turkey is thawing merrily in the fridge waiting to make it’s appearance in the best Christmas dinner ever. In the past, people celebrated not just Christmas day itself, but also the eleven days following, culminating with another celebration on Twelfth Night (Jan. 5).
We’ve all heard the bizarre (and incredibly pricey) gift list that someone’s true love presented them with over the 12 days of Christmas in the famous song. Cost and practicality notwithstanding, here is a new list of “gifts” you can give to yourself, your family and your community.
First Day: As each treasure is unwrapped, take a little extra time and save your wrapping paper. Fold up all the salvageable pieces and stash them in a cardboard box or large gift bag then store along with your Christmas decorations to use again next year. Ribbon can go in its own bag and be stashed with your stock of other occasion wrapping stuff for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Second Day: Make turkey soup. It’s a holiday tradition that the turkey carcass must be stashed in the fridge (easily accessible) to facilitate the traditional “I can’t believe I ate that much, but boy, does a turkey sandwich sound good about now” foraging exercise. But once boxing day dawns, it’s time to debone that sucker, freeze up some of the leftover meat to enjoy in a week or two when you’re past the “turkeyed out” stage and of course cook up the bones to make turkey soup.
Third Day: Go for a walk. Escape the stuffy and relative-laden confines of the hectic house and head out for some fresh air and quiet. Take your dog, kids or a friend along; they probably need a break too.
Fourth Day: Connect with a friend. A visit is awesome if you’re close by, but by all means put a call in to Winnipeg and express best wishes for the season to your old partner-in-crime from Grade 10.
Fifth Day: Pack up a box for charity. You and your family probably received all sorts of wonderful new things, so this is a great time to share your good fortune and downsize by donating good used items to friends, neighbours and charity groups.
Sixth Day: Do something healthy that you haven’t done in a long time. Take a bike ride, go skating, play catch, practice the tango. . . whatever!
Seventh Day: Get out your brand new 2013 calendar and write all your important dates on it. Birthdays, anniversaries, when to de-worm the dog, National Earthworm Appreciation Day, etc.
Eighth Day: Make some “green” resolutions for the New Year. Things like riding your bike or taking the bus to work once a week, buying more local and organic produce, stepping up your recycling and starting a composting program.
Ninth Day: Do something unique with your old 2012 calendars. Cut them up for scratch pads, or use the pictures for homemade greeting cards, collages or flashcards.
Tenth Day: If you haven’t already done so, write or call to say thank-you for the gifts you received this year. Its sounds old fashioned, but it’s a wonderful practice and people really appreciate it.
Eleventh Day: Use this year’s Christmas cards to make new cards for next year, or gift tags or decorations. Use the picture-less side for grocery lists or message pads by the phone.
Twelfth Day: Recycle your Christmas tree. If you bought a live tree or reused an artificial one, congratulations! If not, check the paper or contact the CVRD for information on where you can take your tree to be chipped.
Take advantage of the 12 days of Christmas to enjoy the season to its fullest. Remember, no matter how fast this Christmas snuck up on you, there’s a long wait ‘till next year. Happy Holidays!