There are some Christmas songs that are just down-right annoying... and I have to say The Twelve Days of Christmas is right up there on my list. Especially since the general consensus these days seems to be that the song refers to the 12 days before Christmas. However, I've read enough vintage novels to understand that Christmas was celebrated from Christmas Day through Ephiphany. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: The Twelve Days of Christmas and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany (January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. This period is also known as Christmastide.
Personally, I think I would love to go back to that tradition. Celebrate "Christmastide" in simple ways for 12 days... and that's it! Not start sometime in the middle of November, well before Thanksgiving, with weeks of frenzied activities and way over-done commercialization. Of course, knowing us Americans, it would probably take us the 6 weeks to get ready to celebrate for 12 days, wouldn't it? Yep! Wikipedia has something to say about that, too: With the onset of more Americanized and secular traditions throughout the past two centuries (such as the American "Santa Claus", popularity of Christmas Eve itself as a holiday, and rise in popularity of New Year's Eve parties as well), the traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been largely forgotten in the U.S. This is also heightened by the commercial practice to have "After-Christmas Sales" begin on December 26th and run usually until New Year's Eve.
Okay, I admit, we don't wait until Christmas Eve to put up our Christmas tree like they do in all the vintage stories... but we seem to be gradually getting later and later about it as we get older. We did finally put it up last night. That seems plenty early enough to me, but I know many people have theirs up weeks before we do.
Anyway, I got to thinking about all this because I had agreed to participate in Glass Roads Public Relations "Twelve Days of Christmas Holiday Blog Tour" and it started today-- 12 weekdays before Christmas.