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12 Days of Christmas Recipes and More

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"And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." - LK 2 (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)
“And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” – LK 2 (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

Our guide to celebrating the 12 days of Christmas (see our January issue or click here to download a PDR file) includes suggestions for how to celebrate all 12 days (plus one, this year) between the Feast of the Nativity and Epiphany. Here are the recipes, prayers, and more:

Day 6: The Feast of the Holy Family

Listen to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Otto Resphigi’s “Flight into Egypt,” from his “Church Windows” suite.


Day 9: Feast of Sts Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

Bake St. Basil’s Bread (Vasilopita)
Recipe from from Fr. Deacon Moses at Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, provided by the Byzantine Cultural Center of the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Parma, headquartered in Parma, OH:

1  package active dry yeast
3⁄4 cup milk, lukewarm
4 eggs, beaten
zest of 1 orange
3⁄4 cup sugar
4 3/4 cups flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon  ground cardamom
1⁄2 cup butter, melted
1  egg, for glaze
½ cup blanched  almonds
1 clean coin

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the milk.
Add remainder of milk, eggs, orange rind and sugar.
Sift 3 cups flour, salt and spices into a bowl.
Pour in yeast mixture and stir to blend in flour, gradually adding warm melted butter.
Mix dough until it comes away from sides of the bowl. Turn on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour as required.
Knead for about  10 minutes.
Place ball of dough in a clean bowl brushed with melted butter.
Turn dough over to coat top with butter and cover bowl with plastic wrap.
Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
About 1 ½ hours. Punch down and turn on to lightly floured surface.
Knead lightly and shape into a round loaf.
Fold coin into dough
Place on a large greased baking sheet or in a greased 10 inch deep cake pan.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Glaze with well-beaten egg and arrange blanched almonds.
Bake at 375F for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked when tested.
If bread browns too quickly place a piece of foil on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Whoever gets the slice with the coin has a year of special blessings. 


Day 10: Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus:

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Holy Spirit,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Holy Trinity, one God,
R. Have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, Son of the living God, R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, [etc.]
Jesus, brightness of eternal light.
Jesus, King of glory.
Jesus, sun of justice.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus, most amiable.
Jesus, most admirable.
Jesus, the mighty God.
Jesus, Father of the world to come.
Jesus, angel of great counsel.
Jesus, most powerful.
Jesus, most patient.
Jesus, most obedient.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Jesus, lover of chastity.
Jesus, lover of us.
Jesus, God of peace.
Jesus, author of life.
Jesus, example of virtues.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls.
Jesus, our God.
Jesus, our refuge.
Jesus, father of the poor.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful.
Jesus, good Shepherd.
Jesus, true light.
Jesus, eternal wisdom.
Jesus, infinite goodness.
Jesus, our way and our life.
Jesus, joy of Angels.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles.
Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs.
Jesus, light of Confessors.
Jesus, purity of Virgins.
Jesus, crown of Saints.

V. Be merciful, R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Be merciful, R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. From all evil, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Your wrath, [etc.]
From the snares of the devil.
From the spirit of fornication.
From everlasting death.
From the neglect of Your inspirations.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation.
By Your Nativity.
By Your Infancy.
By Your most divine Life.
By Your labors.
By Your agony and passion.
By Your cross and dereliction.
By Your sufferings.
By Your death and burial.
By Your Resurrection.
By Your Ascension.
By Your institution of the most Holy Eucharist.
By Your joys.
By Your glory.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Jesus.

V. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Grant, we beg of You, to us who ask it, the gift of Your most divine love, that we may ever love You with our whole heart, in word and deed, and never cease praising You.

Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love. R. Amen

Day 11: Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Enjoy gingerbread from a colonial recipe:

Gingerbread from Colonial Williamsburg

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup melted margarine
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup unsulfered molasses
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups stone-ground or unbleached flour, unsifted

Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the melted margarine, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the extracts. Mix well. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers. Knead the dough for a smoother texture. Add up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking. When the dough is smooth, roll it out ¼ inch think on a floured surface and cut it into cookies. Bake on floured or greased cookie sheets in a preheated 375 F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The gingerbread is done when they spring back when touched.

Rosca de Reyes (Kings Cake) recipe from the King Arthur Flour Company; courtesy image.

Feast of Epiphany

Bake a crown-shaped Three Kings Cake Recipe. The French style is familiar from the New Orleans “King Cake” eaten here for Mardi Gras but in French-speaking countries throughout the Carnival season. The recipe for this Mexican version (Rosca de Reyes) is from the King Arthur Flour Company:

2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3¼ cups all-purpose flour


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup dried mixed fruits
1 tablespoon lemon, orange, or lime zest

candied red cherries and/or orange peel
toasted sliced almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts
Click here for complete step-by-step instructions.


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