Twelfth Night

Loving the holidays like we do, it’s always been hard to buckle down and put the Christmas stuff away. We just never felt quite ready to let it go. Then, a few years back, a good friend began this wonderful tradition of throwing a party that she called Twelfth Night. I had no idea what it was suppose to mean, but hey…I’m not so complicated that I over-think the purpose of a party. As an added benefit, this turned out to be a great incentive to let the decorations slip back into the tubs without the usual resistance because we still had a great event to look forward to…until…

…this friend moved away…far away.

Oh, we still hear from her now and then, which is wonderful. Even so, it left the “party junkies” at a negative – 1 in the celebration department.

Not acceptable.

So, with no other choice but to do the event ourselves, we felt that perhaps a tad more research was in order.

Turns out that Twelfth Night, also called Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is a festival marking the biblical arrival of the Magi to worship baby Jesus. Typically recognized on either the 5th or 6th of January, many people celebrate by drinking, feasting, gift giving and general “merrymaking.” I really like the word merrymaking.

That, I get.


So, since people all over the world celebrate this day in dozens of ways, there seems to be a bit of latitude here. I like that too.

Our approach is to use the evening of January 6th to:

1- Celebrate the closing of the holiday season. That is suppose to mean putting away all the Christmas stuff and setting up January decorations. We’re working on it.

2- Make and share *character goals–You know, the kind that help you be a better person, like–being more positive, or being less judgmental of others—that sort of thing.

3- Open Party Crackers–which you can buy at party stores or online, but that are also incredibly fun and easy to make. I’ll show you how in the post below. They are full of candy, games, toys and always…always a tissue paper crown. Very important element. We made our own.

4- Drink a gallon of  Wassail. No explanation needed.

5- Eat “King’s Cake.” Traditionally, this was more of a sweet bread with filling, but of course, it can actually be whatever you want it to be. More in the post below. Ours is a Glazed Holiday Eggnog Cake from Lehi Roller Mills.

6- Play games until it’s time to put somebody to bed—usually…me.

After all this, believe me–we are ready to take on the New Year, and the world…

or sleep for a week…


*New Year’s Goal #2   “Character”

I will take my own advice and “be nice or be quiet” while mingling with the other drivers on the road. No matter how amazingly everyone else drives, I will keep my mouth shut and not say, “The nuts are loose!” Not even once.

Party “Crackers”

Party Crackers:

These are the tissue wrapped paper tubes stuffed with treats and little random prizes and always a paper crown. In several of the Harry Potter movies where there is a Christmas celebration–you’ll see a “Christmas Cracker” sitting by each dinner plate. You can buy them if you like, but they are simple to make so don’t be afraid.

Supplies needed:

Empty paper towel or tissue rolls

Colored tissue

Glue Stick

Small prizes like puzzles, stickers, tiny toys

Small treats like suckers, taffy or gum

Tissue paper crown–rolled and folded up

Curly Ribbon


Wrap the prizes and treats if you want. Stuff them carefully in the cardboard tube.

Roll the tube in colored wrapping tissue. I used two different colors and left 3 or 4 inches on both ends. When you get to the end of the rolling, use a streak from a glue stick to keep it in place.

Tie each end with curly ribbon. Decorate the tube with more ribbon or stickers–or strips of tissue.

That’s it!

Tissue Paper Crowns

You will need a sheet of tissue paper–any color, a pair of scissors and a glue stick.

Fold the tissue over on itself until it is about 3-4 inches wide. Cut a point shape about 3 inches up.

Unfold it and glue the two ends together with a glue stick.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

ThanksgivingWe here at Gracious Rain hope you have the happiest of Thanksgivings and that you eat so much turkey and cranberry sauce and potatoes and pie that you sleep for a week…well, no…then you’d miss all the cool sales tomorrow and that would be would be terribly counter-productive. Maybe, use moderation…

oh, forget it.

So, ok…go eat stuffing.

Dane Thanksgiving 08

My cute little son in Lithuania breaking dry bread for stuffing–8 hours ago–

because HE knows that some traditions must go on, even in a far away land.

Have a wonderful holiday!