Essay –Twelve days

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A quick quiz: On what December date do the twelve days of song and a certain seasonal holiday begin?

The elves here in Carpenter Country, always ahead of the curling ribbon, assumed December 13th.


As many of you who are smart enough to never assume anything know, the twelve days we’re thinking of fall between December 25th and January 6th—-a tradition thought to have originated at the end of the fourth century. Today many different rituals and customs take place during these days.

Another famous twelve, the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, was written in a later century. The exact date seems to be in dispute, and as does the meaning of the lyrics.

While wondering why people want to argue about a song, we made up our own twelve-item list of seasonal fun. In no particular order, we like: Santa Claus, poinsettias, caroling, gift giving, tree trimming, mistletoe kissing, holly decorating, card writing, thankfulness, good food, good friends, and lots of wassailing.

In our opinion, wassailing leaves less time for disagreements about the words in a song or pretty much anything else. In that spirit, we raise our cup and offer wishes for peace on earth and good will toward all.

And may the world sip from the wassail cup more often.




HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at


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