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Twelve Days of Christmas

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Christmas Tree by Johnny Automatic at openclipart.org

Stay tuned…

I’m going to try to do Twelve Days of Christmas here at Talk to the Clouds. That means that starting on December 25th, I’ll post a useful and/or fun free resource every day for twelve days!

The Twelve Days of Christmas does traditionally start on Christmas, and isn’t the twelve days before, as so many retailers seem to think … just another one of those traditions that we get wrong ourselves so often. That’s obscure enough for most people that I didn’t try explaining it to my students when I went over the “differences between Christmas in Japan and the US” handout that I do most years. One thing I did mention, because it causes a lot of confusion when they run into it, is that many Americans–like me–celebrate Christmas as a cultural event with roots that predate Christianity, rather than as a religious event. It can be pretty confusing for them when they get conflicting messages–first they’re told by some people “Japan is doing it wrong! Christmas is a religious event!” … and then they perceive a conflict between the number of Christians in the US (around 77% overall and very obviously less than that where we live) and the number of people who follow cultural traditions such as Christmas trees, gifts, donations to charities, family dinners, and so on (around 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas). Not to mention that some Christian groups do not observe Christmas or don’t observe it on December 25… It’s very surprising to them and serves as a good look at American religious and cultural diversity at the nitty-gritty in-practice level. There are other, easier and more fun to explain differences too–like no eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner here!

Anyway, I hope you find the Twelve Days of Christmas “presents” I’ve lined up for you worth your time! I don’t have them all picked out yet, so if you know of a great free website, program, or other resource that I haven’t yet mentioned (click on “free” in the tags), feel free to suggest it! Let’s see if I can keep it up and post for 12 days in a row!

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