A few years ago I was invited to something called a “little Christmas”. It was a gathering before Christmas Eve and there was a lot of wonderful food and drink and a nice atmosphere of camaraderie. It thought it was one family’s tradition to try and get everyone together that couldn’t be around at Christmas because of the various family responsibilities.
Well little Christmas is a custom in many cultures and for many reasons. It seems to have started with the Irish who celebrated Christmas in January because of some mix-up with the Gregorian calendar, so even when they celebrated with the rest of the world they continued a celebration on Epiphany that they called “little Christmas”.
In Scandinavia, where the main celebration of Christmas is on Christmas Eve, the evening of the 23rd is known as little Christmas eve (Danish: lillejuleaften). In Norway and Sweden, Little Christmas Day refers to 13 January (Norwegian: Tyvendedagen; Swedish: Tjugondedag), twenty days after Christmas, and is regarded as the day when ornaments must be removed from Christmas trees and any leftover food must be eaten. (From Wikipedia). Twelfth Night is also a time when all the extra food must be eaten and that is why I think the fruit cake was invented.
Anyway I enjoyed very much little Christmas for whatever reason it was celebrated and I would invite anyone else who celebrates it to tell me about the customs involved.
By the way the song above is my version of an Irish rendition of “While Shepherd Watched”.