Twelfth Night also known in Christian traditions as Epiphany was celebrated yesterday — on January 6.
For me, January 6 means that it’s the day to ‘take down’ Christmas.
It means putting away the dishes that come out for holidays; it means writing thank you cards; it means putting away decorations; it means the end of the holidays.
The world will now resume a more normal pace.
Because Christmas 2012 was very busy at our house, I knew that I had to get an early start so that I could be finished by dinner time. As I worked, I had time to savour the Christmas memories and develop the twelve thoughts.
Twelve thoughts from the twelfth Night
Keep Christmas in your heart. The Christmas season brings many good feelings as we spend time with family and friends. We take pictures to remember the good times. The love and joy of the season fill us with a special warmth that creates a feeling of well-being. I hope to keep Christmas in my heart by capturing this feeling and re-experiencing it — especially when the hum-drum of daily living threatens to pull me down.
“Take down the tree on January 6”. This was my mother’s admonishment to our family. My mother firmly believed that it was unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night. As I put decorations into storage bins I thought of her and the many traditions that she passed along. Many of these traditions I ignore but taking down the tree on January 6 is one that I adhere to.
As you put away decorations, sort out clutter. Too often a few gifts, along with bows and wrapping, get forsaken and left under the tree. As I sorted I found a lovely gift basket filled with forgotten goodies that I received as a hostess gift. It felt like Christmas all over again as I opened it and looked at all the luxury treats that I can savour during the next few weeks.
Pitch some of those decorations. Every year I try to throw out a few decorations as I do the ‘take down’. This tactic means that I don’t have to go out and buy more storage bins. It also means that I am culling some of the stuff that is tired and has lost meaning. I also sort through the bins and throw out some decorations that were not used.
Five Gold Rings. I have always loved this verse of the old Christmas song even if I have never received 5 gold rings. As I hum this Christmas ditty, I decide that I can do my version of five gold rings by wearing my good jewellery instead of storing it.
Update the Christmas book. A few years ago I started a Christmas book. Every year I make some notes about the entertaining we did and the parties we attended. I might list recipes used and guests who attended. I try to remember what worked well and what did not work. My Christmas book has become a handy reference as I can look back when I make Christmas plans.
Sort Christmas cards, letters and photos received. Taking a few minutes to check cards, letters and photos can give a nice break to the work of putting things away. I usually date photos so that I can remember when they were received. I also check return addresses and update address records.
Pitch any withered Christmas plants but keep some of the Christmas greenery that is robust. It will keep you smiling and remind you of Christmas. But please don’t keep Christmas plants beyond January 31 — nobody wants a poinsettia on Valentine’s Day!
Make plans to eat some greens. Holidays are times for eating too much heavy, rich food. Your body will thank you as you get back to eating nutritious meals with lots of ‘greens.
Think about resuming your other healthy routines. As well as paying more attention to nutrition, it’s time to get back to regular physical exercise and to pay more attention to sleep patterns. My health regime fell apart over the holidays but I know the payoff from regular swimming, yoga, walking and a good night’s rest.
Call friends you did not see during the holidays. They haven’t forgotten you and will appreciate hearing a friendly voice. Many may not celebrate Christmas and will welcome an invitation for coffee or lunch. Many were travelling and want to re-engage and tell you about their holiday fun.
Relax and review the Christmas memories. Yesterday was hectic but I did get all the decorations stowed away. As I finish this blog post I am relaxing with some Christmas tea and enjoying the memories of Christmas 2012.
Soon enough, I will get back to the routines of my postworksavvy lifestyle but I’m determined to dwell on the Twelfth Night thoughts for as long as possible.