Christmastide: the true meaning, according to John Wright

I really liked this post by John Wright, sci-fi author extraordinaire and ABRC (atheist-background Roman Catholic).

I always had to tell Daoud and the family that Christmas doesn't start until the 25th, because before that it is Advent. Stinkin' pagan America. (Speaking of which, we're back in the USA for the time being.)

Anyway, check out John's informative and funny summary of what Christmastide really means. Here is a section to get you going:
So what are the Twelve Days? And why are there Thirteen of them? I have not been able to find easy to hand a list of the Twelve Days of Christmas for 2011-2012. Here is my own list I have gathered from various sources:
Christmas: December 25th–The Nativity of Our Lord
December 26th—Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr
December 27th—Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist
December 28th—Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
December 29th—Memorial of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, bishop and martyr
December 30th—Feast of the Holy Family
December 31st—Memorial of St. Sylvester I, pope (in Eastern Church, this is the Apodosis, or final day of the Afterfeast)
January 1st —Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 2nd —Memorials of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors
January 3rd —Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
January 4th —St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5th —Memorial of St. John Neumann, bishop & St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr
January 6th —Epiphany (traditional)
I liked this part:
The Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury is an optional memorial. The traditional celebration I think is to drink cider and stab a bishop to death in an English cathedral.

The Feast of the Holy Family is the 30th of December this year. (The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday following Christmas, unless that Sunday is January 1st.) I am not sure what the tradition is on this day, either uprooting your family because of a bad dream and fleeing to Egypt or else getting your twelve-year-old lost in Jerusalem and not noticing he’s missing for the whole day.
 But read it on your own. At John's Blog.

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