It will be Christmas Eve at sundown today. #2 daughter will be home. This is very exciting.

When I was a child, we spent this day throughly cleaning our bedrooms. I am trying to revive this custom in my household, but I do not expect to be completely successful.

The party yesterday was fun, and then the boys and I went to the movies in the afternoon. No baking took place, in part perhaps because there was a turkey in the oven most of the day. The remainder of said turkey is now in slices in the fridge and simmering its carcass in the crockpot for a future pot of soup. Its scent is mingling with the smell of the eggnog cake I am baking for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner at my parents’ house.

The boys successfully collected the meatitude and sweetitude for tonight’s feast, and bought four bags of chips, a jar of dip, four bottles of soda, and no vegetables at all. I let the vegetable question slide, but did, following the movie, take them back to the store for some fruit. Son-in-law’s family dropped by with a fruit basket as well, so we will not contract scurvy over the holidays.

We happened upon some old-fashioned tinsel in our travels, and put it on the tree, so the tree is now fully tinsel dressed. Some housework also got done.

There may be more housework today, especially in the bedrooms, and there will be more baking, but there is also morning church, a birthday party to which I will be shepherding the senior high Sunday School, and then the evening service. Probably some practicing of music in there somewhere.

And apparently I cannot help putting in my annual pedantic note about the twelve days of Christmas. They begin tonight. They go on to January 6th, Epiphany. Every year advertisements suggest that they are twelve shopping days before Christmas, and every year it irritates me. Two of the people at yesterday’s brunch hadn’t even put up their trees yet, since it is still Advent. Those of us who observe Advent have been looking forward to those twelve days of unbridled revelry, and we should get to have them.

Even if I , for one, have snuck in some revelry beforehand.

Here is a website clarifying the point. It also has the details of the idea that the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was used as a mnemonic device for the teaching of Christian doctrine. It definitely didn’t start out that way, but someone might have done that at some time, and many people like the symbolism and find that it adds to their current experience of the song, so I’m not planning to be pedantic about that. One burst of pedantry is enough for this joyous day.

Here is the song. You know this song, of course. Maybe you find yourself at a party every year where someone proposes singing it, and everyone is supposed to take one of the numbers and chime in with it when it is time. This game usually results in hilarity as people try to remember which number they chose, the tune to their part, or to come in on time when they were busy discussing their wedding plans in between turns.

Here are my suggestions for how to pick the right number for you. If you are shy about the whole thing, pick 12 because you only have to do it once, and sometimes the game peters out before it reaches 12. If you like to show off, pick 5. In fact, if you like singing, pick 5 and get a couple of other singers to join you on it in harmony. None of the other parts gives you a chance to sing, really. If you don’t sing, pick a number after 5, because their tunes are all alike, and mostly just one note. Or at least you could sing it all on one note.

If someone is parceling out the parts without letting people choose, then just grab some eggnog and go with it. It doesn’t last as long as the Dirty Santa game.