Christmas is over? Hardly! It seems the world has forgotten that the Christmas season STARTS on December 25, it doesn't END on that day. This great Feast celebrating the birth of Our Lord can't be contained in just one day. The Church celebrates the Octave of Christmas. The Octave starts on December 25 and lasts until the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1.
Remember the 12 Days of Christmas? Western tradition holds that the Christmas season is celebrated until the Feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany is on January 6, although the Church in the U.S. shifts the day until the following Sunday, which is January 8 in 2012. This is the way we mark the end of Christmas observance in our family. Epiphany is joyously celebrated with an annual gathering of friends. Our Christmas tree and other decorations stay up until that event is over.
There's even an older tradition whereby Christmas was celebrated for 40 days, until the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord on February 2.
A local radio station plays non-stop Christmas music from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. Then on December 26, as the season is just getting started, they abruptly return to regular programming. It's amazing, and just a little sad, to watch the neighborhood decorations start coming down on December 26, and for the most part, they totally vanish by January 1. I guess that's a side effect of starting too early. It seems folks are tired of Christmas by the time it actually arrives.
I don't know about you, but we're just getting started!