Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
for their Savior is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
for their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
for their Liberator is born.
Let all Christians rejoice,
for Jesus Christ is born.
~~St. Augustine of Hippo
Advent is done and Christmas is here! Now is the time to celebrate, to rejoice, to have huge celebrations with family, to go to Mass, and to bask in the season.
Unfortunately, this does not coincide with the secular world, whose stores quickly erase all references to Christmas and people wrap up their own parties and wonder what to do with their children on Christmas break.
It is not an easy thing to keep Christmas going in today's world. I know. I know this too well. I am an adult convert to Catholicism and no one else, even in my cradle Catholic husband's family, celebrate the liturgical year. Yet, I do not give up. I do have to make compromises sometimes but I really do try to live out our faith and share with others.
With that said, each year I add to our tradition and we are slowly converting our traditions to follow the liturgical year more and the secular world less. I am even hopeful of convincing some in my family that Christmas does not need to be rushed and compacted into less than 24 hours.
For us, the days leading up to Christmas Eve are filled with a bit more activity - the O Antiphons, wrapping gifts, and finding the perfect Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve morning we finish cleaning up the house and preparing for the evening. With young kids, we oscillate between Christmas Eve Mass and Christmas Morning Mass. Go when it best suits your family. Go to both if you can!
Christmas Day itself is finally coming to be a quiet, joyful day of family and simple celebration.
We keep the Christmas season alive by leaving up decorations, praying each day, and doing an activity or two each day, ending with the Feast of the Epiphany, which we celebrate on January 6th, no matter when it's moved to in the U.S. That helps keep it consistent for us.
See these links for more detail about ways we have celebrated Christmas in the past:
- 12 Days of Christmas
- Two Christmas Art Crafts
- Christmas Tree watercolor cards
- "I Spy" Christmas ornament
- Christmas Novena (begins November 30th)
- Nativity Cupcakes
- 2012 Christmas Plans
- Christmas 2011, Christmas 2013
- A Christmas Prayer
- Christmas Painting -- a fun activity for the kids (and mom!)
- Epiphany 2013, 2014, 2016
Feel free for more possible ideas on my Christmas Pinterest board!