Greetings from Jo, Charlie the Christmas Elf, and Billy the Snow Elf, here to begin the celebration of a Wenchly Christmastide.
I love the idea of Christmastide because it's a season, not a day and I like to give people good wishes for a stretch of time, not just one day. Personally, I think we load the one day with too much importance, which often leads to stress and disappointment. So be kind to yourself and think of the whole season of warmth, light, and good will.
Another benefit of Christmastide in the past is that it allowed for both the religious solemnity of Christmas Day, and the traditional fun of the season at other times, but especially at Twelfth Night. But I'll be back to talk about that. The well-known, and well-parodied, song The Twelve Days of Christmas arose from the fun side of Christmastide and apparently has roots back to the 16th century.
The Word Wenches are celebrating the twelve days of Christmastide with short seasonal posts every day and we hope you'll join in with joyful contributions along the way.
Christmastide runs from Christmas Day to the eve of the Epiphany. The Epiphany, the feast celebrating the arrival of the Three Wise Men or Mages (I prefer that to Magi, but does anyone know why the word magi came into use? I deliberately haven't looked it up)is the 6th of January, so the eve is 5th. There are church variations that take Christmastide into February, but we'll stick with the simpler version in our celebration.
I love the T. S. Eliot poem, The Journey of the Magi, but then I like it when people look at the gritty side of traditional elements because it always gives the familiar a new relevance.
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For the journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
As a small Christmastide gift, I've put up some English recipes. They're not particularly seasonal, but you might want to play with some of them.The recipes are here.
And for those who haven't already read them, I have two free Christmas stories on line.
Jane Austen and the Mistletoe Kiss. This is a mistletoe bough, and the gentleman was supposed to pluck a berry every time he claimed a kiss, so finding mistletoe with plenty of berries was very important.
Happy Christmastide, and enjoy each day of it, here at Word Wenches.