What does December 26th mean to you? For most people, it means that Christmas is over. It’s time to pack away the lights and the tree. But that doesn’t have to be the case! Christmas doesn’t have to end on December 25th. The Christmas season, known as Christmastide, lasts twelve days, just like the song.
If you want to learn how to increase church engagement throughout the holidays, discover exciting Christmas Eve services and other church events to host below.
What Is Christmastide?
Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year in the Church after Advent ends. All December long, the Church observes the season of Advent, where people prepare for the birth of Christ and remember that light always overcomes darkness. Then, on December 25th, Christmastide begins, and we start the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
The twelve days of Christmastide are full of celebration and rejoicing in the birth of Jesus. The season lasts from December 25th to January 5th. The twelve days are:
- December 25th – The Nativity
- December 26th – St. Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr
- December 27th – St. John the Evangelist
- December 28th – The Holy Innocents
- December 29th – St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop and Martyr
- December 30th – The Holy Family
- December 31st – St. Sylvester I, Pope
- January 1st – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- January 2nd – Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
- January 3rd – The Holy Name of Jesus
- January 4th – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
- January 5th – St. John Neumann, Epiphany Eve
Different traditions may celebrate different feasts or remembrances during Christmastide as well.
After 12 days of joyful feasting, celebrating, and gathering, the Christmastide season closes with the Epiphany. On January 6th, the Epiphany, the Church remembers when wise men followed a star and visited the miracle of Jesus.
When Does The Christmas Season End?
The Christmas season feels like it starts earlier every year, with stores even promoting Christmas in July! Whether you start celebrating Christmas in the summer, right after Thanksgiving, or on December 1st, you might wonder when the season will end.
The Christmas season starts rather than ends on December 25th. So instead of one day full of lights, carols, and love, it’s twelve days of Christmas fun. The more days, the merrier!
How to Celebrate Christmastide With Your Church Community
The 12 days we sing about in that classic and long Christmas song are real and make up the season of Christmastide. During this season, your church can continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the hope that his arrival brings. To help celebrate the season, here are 8 ideas that don’t require a collection of birds or any lords-a-leaping.
Don’t Take Your Christmas Decorations Down
Keep your nativity scenes on display, especially your wise men. Don’t take down your Christmas tree. Turn your lights on each day. Leave the wreaths and candles in the windows as a physical reminder of the season.
Encourage Generosity After Christmas
Besides Christmas tithes and offerings, there are other ways to inspire generosity. On Boxing Day, December 26th, host a donation drive at your church. Encourage your member to give away that sweater they’ll never wear or the kitchen gadget they’ll never use instead of returning it. Then you can bless your local community with those gifts.
Feed Local Families In Need
Many children take advantage of the free breakfast and lunch programs offered in their schools. But during the Christmastide season, when children are home for two weeks, there’s an extra burden on the family grocery budget. With church volunteer management software, you can easily organize members to collect groceries, pack meals, and distribute them to their neighbors in need.
Connect Small Groups With A Word Of The Year
Instead of resolutions, some people choose one word to focus on for that year. The word will guide daily choices and inspire people to better themselves. It acts as a theme or overarching focus for the year ahead. Popular choices include simplify, honesty, heart, growth, and balance. Get small groups together before the year ends to pray and discuss their word for the new year.
Celebrate The New Year Together
The end of the year and the promise of a fresh start in the new year is worth celebrating. That celebration could look like a nighttime church service to pray in the new year. Or it could be a party for students with fun music, games, and snacks. There is no wrong way to celebrate the good God brought in the year and the hope for continued blessing in the new year. Think about who you want to reach and choose a celebration that most resonates with them.
Tell The Story Of The Wise Men
Christmastide ends with the season of Epiphany, which commemorates the Magi’s visit to the baby Jesus in the liturgical calendar. Engage your youth ministry by having them read or dramatize a story about the wise men’s visit. In The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola, Befana’s chores keep her from joining the wise men and finding the Baby King, so she spends the rest of her life searching for the child and giving gifts to children she meets along the way.
Put On An Epiphany Party Potluck
After the hustle and bustle of the usual holiday season ends, invite your community to a potluck. It will be a time for people to gather together and celebrate the joy of Christmas. As a bonus, a potluck can help mirror the story of the Epiphany; people bring food to share like the wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus.
Host a Backyard Christmas Bonfire
Once Christmastide has ended, you can create a bonfire with Christmas greenery and invite your community to have an ordinary time to relax. Unwind from the hectic times of cooking and gift-giving by hosting a smaller event. A bonfire would be perfect for engaging middle and high school students before returning to school, complete with smores and campfire songs.
Grow Your Church’s Community & Engagement with ChurchStaq by Pushpay
Church engagement is all about getting people involved. Every time you offer a new way to get involved, you’re inviting your congregation to participate. No matter how you celebrate the season, Christmastide is full of opportunities for people to stay connected and be a part of the Church. With Pushpay’s church management software, you can inspire spectators and community members to take action and engage in your church. Schedule a call with one of our experts today to learn more about how your church tech can do more for your church this holiday season.