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Old 10-17-2014, 01:07 PM   #1
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Default 12 Days of Christmas - mini rant.

The 12 days of Christmas aren't a countdown to Christmas they are the celebration of the Christmas Holiday from Christmas Day, December 25th, to Epiphany, January 6th.

The time before Christmas is Advent and that is what Advent calendars are for - to countdown.

(and while we're at it The Feast of Stephen December 26th so that is when Good King Wenceslas looked out).

I think it is GREAT, WONDERFUL, SMASHING, FANTASTIC, AWESOME etc. to do Christmas Countdowns but they are NOT "the 12 days of Christmas".

*steps off soapbox.

Can you tell I have seen more than one blog/tutorial talking about the 12 days of Christmas as a countdown? Completely different companies/stampers/stamp sets.

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Old 10-17-2014, 05:45 PM   #2
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I've found so many people don't know what the 12 days of Christmas are. People have always asked me why I keep my Christmas tree up so long - until the day after Epiphany-the 12th day of Christmas and then I tell them what the real dates are for the 12 Days of Christmas. And I love having the tree up until then instead of taking it down the day after Christmas.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:44 PM   #3
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I know people that take their decorations down on Christmas day!
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:09 PM   #4
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Thank you for your mini-rant! I get annoyed about the "countdown" thing, too. And don't even get me started on all of the Christmas that is already in stores (not just craft stores - department stores, too) when we aren't even to Halloween yet! What happened to enjoying one holiday at a time (and correctly observing them, while we're at it)?
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeinSparks View Post
I've found so many people don't know what the 12 days of Christmas are. People have always asked me why I keep my Christmas tree up so long - until the day after Epiphany-the 12th day of Christmas and then I tell them what the real dates are for the 12 Days of Christmas. And I love having the tree up until then instead of taking it down the day after Christmas.
When I was a kid, we called Jan 6th (the 12th day of Christmas) Little Christmas. I mentioned that to someone the other day, and they didn't have a clue what I was talking about. We always put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and took it down on January 6th. So . . . I had to explain that Epiphany was when the Wise Men came.


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Old 10-17-2014, 08:34 PM   #6
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My MIL thinks it is bad luck to have any Christmas Decorations up after 12th night. I imagine that came from it being a fire hazard back in the day.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:24 PM   #7
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When I was a kid, we called Jan 6th (the 12th day of Christmas) Little Christmas. I mentioned that to someone the other day, and they didn't have a clue what I was talking about. We always put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and took it down on January 6th. So . . . I had to explain that Epiphany was when the Wise Men came.


(Kristen, now I'll step down off MY soapbox! LOL!!!)
Where I come from we called Jan. 6th "Old Christmas Day". Never even think about taking that tree down before then!
And speaking of mixed up Christmas - I recently saw a "12 days of Christmas" stamp line that had a smoking pipe as a symbol of the 11 pipers piping...!!!
I fear that some day the true meaning of everything that we know will be lost.
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:42 PM   #8
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Thank you, Kristen! This has always been one of my pet peeves. Twelfth night or the Feast of the Epiphany is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. The whole family would gather again to take down the tree and decorations. We would have Sloppy Joes or burgers and soda (which was a rare treat) and then we'd eat up all the getting stale Christmas cookies, breads and treats while playing the games the kids received from Santa, sing a few carols and hug everyone tightly as they left since we probably would not see them again until Easter.
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:51 AM   #9
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Amen. For many years we observed the 12 Day of Christmas, the kids could open a gift each day. The tree stayed up until Jan. 6th. The kids would tell people about our special way of doing things and no one got it. It's time to bring it back!
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:54 AM   #10
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Well, just having this threat is one way to spread the word! I probably shouldn't admit it, but I didn't know either (blush) ...
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:19 AM   #11
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I just asked a friend what the 12 days are. I didn't know, either.

I want to go back to celebrating 12 days rather than trying to cram it into one. And I'm not technically Christian.
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:37 AM   #12
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Well, just having this threat is one way to spread the word! I probably shouldn't admit it, but I didn't know either (blush) ...
Hope you mean thread!

and I admit I never made the connection until I lived in England where Christmas is celebrated during Christmas. People take vacation days (of course their annual leave allocation starts at around 3 weeks). You pretty much entertain or go to family and friends every day between Christmas and New Years too. I doesn't hurt that Christmas Day, Boxing Day and NYD are all national holidays, so if you hit the sweet spot you only have to take 3 days and get 11 days with weekends.

Advent is when you go out for your work's Christmas party.

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Old 10-18-2014, 11:26 AM   #13
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I recently saw a "12 days of Christmas" stamp line that had a smoking pipe as a symbol of the 11 pipers piping...!!!
I think that was a deliberate decision by the designer. I saw a video where she cut the numbers off of the stamps so that they could be used with numbers for Christmas or without for other occasions.

I always leave my tree up until the 6th January. The time it takes to put up I want to get full value out of it.

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Old 10-18-2014, 11:40 AM   #14
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I think that was a deliberate decision by the designer. I saw a video where she cut the numbers off of the stamps so that they could be used with numbers for Christmas or without for other occasions.

I always leave my tree up until the 6th January. The time it takes to put up I want to get full value out of it.

Lesley
Yeah, I took that as quirky. Just like the Penny Black set I have with all the animals is slightly literal but not specifically.
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:02 PM   #15
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I never knew! I thought it was just a song!
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:18 PM   #16
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I had no clue either about this. I always left my tree up because I enjoyed it. Now, I'm going to start a new tradition at my house with this new found information. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:37 PM   #17
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I divided my decorations into two sections - Winter and Christmas! Winter (snowflakes, snowmen Poinsettias etc) get put up after the first snowfall or mid Nov whichever comes first! Christmas (trees, decorations etc) start popping up around the first of Dec (I usually have an average of 16-18 trees in various sizes) and stay up until the 6th of January. Winter decorations are up until the end of February which seemed rather strange last year since the snow didn't disappear until almost the end March! (the spring decorations looked a little silly! LOL). Can you tell I really love winter...good thing I live in Canada! LOL
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:01 AM   #18
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I think it doesn't help that many talk shows do a 12 days countdown to Christmas with prizes, giveaways, special programming.

FWIW Our Christmas decorations go up from December 6th, St Nicholas Day. It just seems appropriate.
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:56 AM   #19
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Amen. For many years we observed the 12 Day of Christmas, the kids could open a gift each day. The tree stayed up until Jan. 6th. The kids would tell people about our special way of doing things and no one got it. It's time to bring it back!
Mary Beth
Egads! This would mean at least 12 presents per child!! (I don't have kids, but I'm thinking of my sister and her FOUR children)
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:28 PM   #20
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I never made the connection between the 12 days and Epiphany. For some reason I thought it started on Dec 1 and ended on St. Nicholas Day, which I see now is not even possible. This site is so educational

I'm not so sure about the stamp set, which I almost ordered. Pipers piping are different than pipers smoking a pipe. Maybe if you removed the smoky wisps, it could look like a musical horn.

That all said, I'm still going to send my three college students care packages at the beginning of December with 12 treats (Twelve Days of Chocolate for my daughters, and Twelve Days of Jerky for my son).
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:42 PM   #21
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I went to the Episcopalian church for many years and so I've been aware of Advent season and Christmas season. We used to celebrate 12th night by having a huge bon fire and burning our Christmas trees. It was great fun for the whole family. Arlenevita.. the song is very religious and is in code because for many years it was against the law to celebrate Christmas in England. Each of the numbers represent something from the bible.
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:49 PM   #22
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Egads! This would mean at least 12 presents per child!! (I don't have kids, but I'm thinking of my sister and her FOUR children)
Americans generally overkill on pressies compared to Europe. A book a day. A bar of chocolate. Some styling gel are the sorts of pressies I would think about. To be honest we never did the daily presents just the continued celebration.

Now in my husband's family in England we did do "tree presents" which was a small gift as above when people visited from the "tree".
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Old 10-20-2014, 05:34 AM   #23
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I never knew this! I'm also one of those people who thought it was just a song! We have always kept our decorations up until New Years, but now I can tell my family I have another week before I have to take them down.
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:22 AM   #24
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In my family, the tree was put up on the 23rd and celebrations continued from our Polish tradition of Wigilia (meatless 12 dish dinner with wafer to share on Christmas Eve) through "Russian Christmas" in January. The priests came around to bless our homes between the two holidays. Food was always in order, as were the "obligatory" non/alcoholic toasts for goodwill, health and continued friendships. Advent was for preparation, not celebrations. Our real tree was finally set outside for the birds to enjoy, as one of the January projects was to create birdseed/peanut butter/suet bagels. I miss the crowds of those days, as families are smaller, but we still gather for Christmas Eve. I wouldn't miss it! I think that keeping handmade crafts alive is a tribute to the selfless giving that is a hallmark of that season. Come to think of it, I think I would like to see a stamp or die cut that is an Advent wreath! This thread was refreshing to read! Diane
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:29 AM   #25
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Thank you River! I am one of those who gets called a bah humbug for disliking Christmas, my response is I like Christmas at Christmas time. Most years I put up my tree on Christmas eve ( we have a real one each year) but as I don't like clutter it comes down at the latest New Years Eve, as I like to think...new fresh start for the New Year so out with the tree. However, I do keep other Christmas ornaments out until Little Christmas which I believe is also Orthodox Christmas for the Coptic and Russian churches?

The blending of Thanksgivings, Halloween and Christmas has been done by the retailers and the majority of people seem to have jumped on the bandwagon, such a shame as it takes away the build of excitement of Christmas in my opinion.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:52 AM   #26
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interesting, I always saw the countdown as 12/1 to 12/25 - I have never seen the 12 days of christmas as the countdown.I suppose it would be ok if someone called it the 12 days to Christmas (meaning Christmas day)nstead of the 12 days of christmas.
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:16 PM   #27
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I get the same way when I see 8 sided snowflake stamps and dies! Even though I've never seen a real snowflake, I know they are all 6 sided.
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:46 AM   #28
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While we're on a roll here, let's talk Advent calendars. There are 25 little windows or boxes, one to open each day from Dec. 1st to Christmas morning. We use them every year, a tradition for us. The problem is, Advent rarely starts Dec. 1. The first day of Advent is four Sundays before Christmas so the season can be longer or shorter, depending on what day of the week Christmas falls on. This year, the first day of Advent is Nov. 30th so we just need one extra window/box this time.
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Old 10-21-2014, 05:39 AM   #29
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Throwing a ball in for the other team here...I had a neighbor once who did a 12 Days of Christmas thing for us where, leading up to Christmas, one day she gave us an apple with a cute little note...then one day a stick of gum with a cute little note and on and on. I never once stopped to think that she was doing it "wrong" or that she should have waited until after Christmas to do this fun little thing....I just adored her for it and giggled every day when I came home from work to a new little giftie at my doorstep. Might be different for me though as I don't celebrate religious holidays for the same reason or in the same way that religious people do...I just like to have fun


ETA: I did a quick search and found the neighbor gifts I was referring to. I don't know anything about this blog or blogger...only that she happened to have this on her blog
The Twelve Days Of Christmas Gifts | redmondfamily.com
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Old 10-21-2014, 06:10 AM   #30
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In my family, the tree was put up on the 23rd and celebrations continued from our Polish tradition of Wigilia (meatless 12 dish dinner with wafer to share on Christmas Eve) through "Russian Christmas" in January. The priests came around to bless our homes between the two holidays. Food was always in order, as were the "obligatory" non/alcoholic toasts for goodwill, health and continued friendships. Advent was for preparation, not celebrations. Our real tree was finally set outside for the birds to enjoy, as one of the January projects was to create birdseed/peanut butter/suet bagels. I miss the crowds of those days, as families are smaller, but we still gather for Christmas Eve. I wouldn't miss it! I think that keeping handmade crafts alive is a tribute to the selfless giving that is a hallmark of that season. Come to think of it, I think I would like to see a stamp or die cut that is an Advent wreath! This thread was refreshing to read! Diane
I have an Advent wreath stamp set that was made by the Saltbox Studio (no longer making stamps). I used to use it for our church's Advent by Candlelight celebration that we had for the women every year. It was a really lovely stamp set!
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:43 AM   #31
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While I knew what the 12 days of Christmas really means, I still take my tree down after everyone leaves on Christmas day. I put it up the day after Thanksgiving, so I am more than ready for it to come down.

Our church leaves up the tree until after the 6th of January. Volunteers usually take it down around the 7th or 8th.
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:20 PM   #32
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Amen. For many years we observed the 12 Day of Christmas, the kids could open a gift each day. The tree stayed up until Jan. 6th. The kids would tell people about our special way of doing things and no one got it. It's time to bring it back!
Mary Beth

It could be inexpensively done and little things can be very special; visit the Dollar store and purchase little things like bouncy balls, notebooks, hair scrunchies... gifts don't have to be costly to be memorable and the tradition would be very special
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:41 AM   #33
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In our church we don't start singing Christmas songs until Christmas Day and end with Little Christmas. My family's tradition has always been to put the tree up on the weekend closest to my birthday (the 14th) and to take it down the weekend after Little Christmas. The only time that wasn't followed was when I was deployed - the tree stayed up until I got home mid-January so I could put it away!

I think we have to remember there is a secular/commercial Christmas and a religious Christmas and the commercial holiday is winning out.
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:36 AM   #34
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I can see where this would annoy people.

I do Christmas although I am more Jewish-my dad was Christian. I put the tree up after Thanksgiving and keep it up till 2nd week Jan. Not for faith reasons...I just love the season and I have collected heavily over the decades (I am an orn junkie)-it takes me days to put it all up and I want to enjoy it for a long time. I joke a lot that if we got robbed no one would realize the "valuables" are the ornaments as I am not a jewelry person. LOL Why we got a fake tree since real dont last that long safely. (and DH was pitching a fit about the needles) I burn good quality pine scent candles and people dont realize it

ACK! They are advertising Christmas movies to start Oct 31st on the Hallmark channel!

What bothers me about (all) holidays is this value business. What happened to fun? (in addition to faith activities) A little bit each day to unwrap is FUN. I'm not supposed to provide a whole new wardrobe! Older people dont celebrate their Bdays...Anniversaries...I'm like any reason to party! woo hoo! You dont want "stuff"-go out to lunch! Get some flowers! Make some cookies! Christmas is falling victim to that too. Why I like handmade cards-a little something special on your day. Well that's my soap box.

I'll put a little something on a gift as the stocking stuffer part-Candy cane or something, and people and people are like HUH?
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:18 AM   #35
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Where I come from we called Jan. 6th "Old Christmas Day". Never even think about taking that tree down before then!
And speaking of mixed up Christmas - I recently saw a "12 days of Christmas" stamp line that had a smoking pipe as a symbol of the 11 pipers piping...!!!
I fear that some day the true meaning of everything that we know will be lost.
Oh Good Grief, folks! The stamp set you're talking about is DARLING and funny! Funny as in, witty! For example, the stamp for the 3 French Hens is a French hen (and, look, it's wearing a French beret!) And the funniest is the stamp for the 4 calling birds. (It's a bird on the telephone...it's calling!!!)

I'm sorry you don't "get it" and can't appreciate the humor.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:38 AM   #36
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I can see where this would annoy people.

I do Christmas although I am more Jewish-my dad was Christian. I put the tree up after Thanksgiving and keep it up till 2nd week Jan. Not for faith reasons...I just love the season and I have collected heavily over the decades (I am an orn junkie)-it takes me days to put it all up and I want to enjoy it for a long time. I joke a lot that if we got robbed no one would realize the "valuables" are the ornaments as I am not a jewelry person. LOL Why we got a fake tree since real dont last that long safely. (and DH was pitching a fit about the needles) I burn good quality pine scent candles and people dont realize it

ACK! They are advertising Christmas movies to start Oct 31st on the Hallmark channel!
What bothers me about (all) holidays is this value business. What happened to fun? (in addition to faith activities) A little bit each day to unwrap is FUN. I'm not supposed to provide a whole new wardrobe! Older people dont celebrate their Bdays...Anniversaries...I'm like any reason to party! woo hoo! You dont want "stuff"-go out to lunch! Get some flowers! Make some cookies! Christmas is falling victim to that too. Why I like handmade cards-a little something special on your day. Well that's my soap box.

I'll put a little something on a gift as the stocking stuffer part-Candy cane or something, and people and people are like HUH?
I hate this. I feel I don't get to savor and enjoy each holiday anymore. By mid-December, Christmas decorations will be %50 off and the Valentines will start peeping out in the isles. Thanksgiving is pretty much overlooked except for the grocery sales the week prior. By the time Christmas rolls through I'm thoroughly burned out. When I was little I remember each month being wholly dedicated to its proper day. Halloween through Christmas was always an exciting time full of fun, family, and most importantly not feeling the rush to push through it all.
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:56 AM   #37
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I know Arizona...I want to stop and wallow in each holiday. And I mean wallow. There is plenty to be unhappy and stressed about. Linger on that cookie with closed eyes...(plus three more lol), try to have time to cook at a human pace...and be sure to hug everyone! What's with hugging? It's like a dying thing
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:42 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by wavejumper View Post
I know Arizona...I want to stop and wallow in each holiday. And I mean wallow. There is plenty to be unhappy and stressed about. Linger on that cookie with closed eyes...(plus three more lol), try to have time to cook at a human pace...and be sure to hug everyone! What's with hugging? It's like a dying thing
The hugs issue probably has as much to do with being afraid to be accused of a minor sexual assault. Our society has become more litigious sometimes it isn't worth the risk.
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:04 AM   #39
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I am so glad to see this ! My family has always taken the tree down on the 6th of January. Glad to know that we aren't the only one!
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:01 PM   #40
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The hugs issue probably has as much to do with being afraid to be accused of a minor sexual assault. Our society has become more litigious sometimes it isn't worth the risk.
I know what you mean and what a sad commentary. I'm not asking people to sit on my lap! Well, if someone comes in my house they get hugged so be warned out there!
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