Monday, January 4, 2010

An Epiphany Party: Because Christmas Isn't Over Yet!

"Adoration of the Magi" by Giotto

This year, we are starting a new tradition: an Epiphany party! I admit it, I stole the idea from Catherine and Peter Fournier's book, but hey, that's what the book was written for, right?

The festivities will begin around 3:30 or 4:00, when our kiddos are up from their naps, with moms and children gathering to hang out, sip tea and hot cocoa, and enjoy a little storytime. We'll be reading Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins and Nicolas Sidjakov and We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin, which Sophia and James will be receiving as presents in the morning. When the children in our group are older, we'll have crafts, as well. I'm looking forward to decorating crowns and other fun things.

The menfolk will be joining us after work for a potluck and some Christmas carolling--just in our living room, not the door-to-door kind. Here is a list of Epiphany carols, if you'd like to do your own sing-along:
  • "The First Noel"
  • "We Three Kings"
  • "What Child Is This?"
  • "O Come All Ye Faithful"/"Adeste Fideles"
  • "Ding Dong! Merrily on High"
  • "The Twelve Days of Christmas"
  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
And, of course, no Epiphany celebration is complete without an Epiphany Cake! Many cultures have a special King Cake with which to celebrate, such as this one, which hails from New Orleans or the French Galette des Rois. We will be hiding a dried bean inside of this scrumptious-looking Pecan-Spice Cake. The Pecans will symbolize the treasure that the magi brought to the Christ child, and the spices are to represent the exotic Eastern lands from which they travelled, as well as their fragrant gifts of myrrh and frankincense. The bean is essential. Whoever finds it in their slice of cake will be hosting the party next year! We'll just have to be careful that none of the children eat it!

As the night winds down, we'll pass out pieces of chalk to each family with instructions for a Home Blessing service. It is traditional to invoke God's blessing on the family's home on Epiphany by marking the door frame with the year and the initials of the Magi's names (Caspar, Melchior, and Bathlazar) like this: 20 + C +M + B + 10. CMB can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which translates "Christ bless this house."

How will you be celebrating?


  1. What an absolutely marvelous idea! I was actually thinking of doing something for Epiphany... possibly moving our family gift time from Christmas Day to this day. I really love all of your wonderful plans, and how much fun to host a party and share the joy☺

    Another book you might enjoy is "The Story of the Other Wise Man" by Henry Van Dyke. It's fictional, which may or may not be a problem for some. But it's such a sweet and meaningful story.. we've always enjoyed it very much indeed. Here's a link to it on Project Gutenberg, if you're interested:

  2. We celebrated on the 3rd by having a scavenger hunt for the baby Jesus. I left clues around the house and there was a little treasure for each of them next to the baby Jesus. We also let them spend some of the Christmas money they received from relatives at the local toy store so they got another Christmas present. We talked about our Jesse tree as we put the ornaments away and cleaned up from the season. This was the first year we truly celebrated the epiphany and it was a sweet ending.

  3. We will celebrate Epiphany tonight, January 6, using some of your sweet suggestions. By the way, the book Persuaded mentions has also been made into a wonderful movie, called "The Fourth Wise Man" starring Martin Sheen. I highly recommend it. It's also appropriate to watch during the Easter season.

  4. Great ideas. Having an adult Epiphany party...just as the magi gave gifts to the Christ child, we wil be making fleece blankets for homeless children. Using Liz Curtis Higgs "The 12 Gifts of Christmas" to search Scripture to find the gifts. Will send folks home with your chalk idea. Thanks!


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