The end of Christmas

The end of Christmas

Epiphany is a mixed blessing. It’s a great feast, and a picturesque one. Most depictions of the Nativity show the Maji presenting their gifts to the Christ child, rather than the shepherds paying homage.

But it’s also the twelfth day of Christmas. In my books, that the cue to pack up the Christmas lights, dispose of the Christmas tree, and dismantle the crib. No more “Merry Christmas” greetings, no more carols, no more egg nog. This was certainly the greatest recurring trauma of my childhood, and it still stings.

christmas-ends-epiphany

Not everyone agrees with me though. There are some who insist that the Christmas season continues until the Baptism of the Lord, so they’ll keep their tree up until then. Die-hards wait out until the Feast of the Presentation, some forty days after Christmas.

christmas-ends-candlemas

Now I love my Christmas tree, but I’m not that dedicated. I came down with a cold this Christmas — like I seem to do every Christmas — and online research exposed Christmas tree mould as a likely culprit. I don’t want to exhibit flu-like symptoms all the way through January!

Nonetheless, purists will point out that the Vatican keeps its tree up until the Presentation. End of argument, right?

Not so fast! Flashback to 2011:

I know one priest who has adopted something like this as his planned approach this year. The Christmas tree and decorations will be removed after today. The crib will stay until the Feast of the Presentation, which this year happens to fall on a Sunday. Not a bad idea. I might remember that for the future.

But as for now, I’m putting Christmas behind me. Sigh.

5 Comments

  1. Adri
    Jan 5, 2014

    I know few families that keep the nativity set all year. I personally think it’s a beautiful tradition. Always remembering of His meek and humble heart and birth. God bless Father.

  2. Florence
    Jan 5, 2014

    Fr John, you are so sentimental. Yes, Christmas is a very enjoyable time for Christians and Christmas has always been a very special time for me personally. As a little girl it was a very exciting time for me. I remember helping my dad along with my siblings to put up the Christmas tree and the crib. We would all get new clothes and shoes for Christmas and we would all go for midnight Mass. Well, I guess, I could sigh as well……. Thank God that you are a priest Fr John and May God bless you always.

  3. Jenny Altmann
    Jan 5, 2014

    Yes Father John,
    I wholeheartedly agree with Florence…We are truly blessed that you are a priest!! Very much appreciate your sharing. You are so approachable which kind of makes us all feel special. God Bless you and thank you so very much.

  4. Francis I don't want priests to be
    Jan 6, 2014

    Read the Ordo

    • Fr John
      Jan 6, 2014

      Thank you anonymous Internet troll with fake email address, on showing us how not to conduct thoughtful and charitable discussion. Might I suggest you read the Gospels?

      Merry Christmas! (For the Ordo does, gentle reader, indicate that we are still in the liturgical season of Christmas.)