In early Christian history, the 12 days of Christmas were the days of celebration that began on Christmas Day and ended Jan. 6 with the feast of the Epiphany.
The so-named English Christmas carol about partridges and golden rings which we sing so enthusiastically was written as an encrypted catechism for Catholics in England who were forced to practice their faith in secret from 1558 until 1829, according to the Catholic News Agency website.
In 2014 Waxhaw, the 12 Days of Christmas has a broader meaning. It includes the weekends in December before Christmas; the events, both religious and secular, are open to the public.
The First Friday December celebration actually falls on the fourth day of the town’s 12-day calendar.
On Dec. 5, the town will host the 25th annual senior citizens Christmas party at the American Legion Hall. The Waxhaw Woman’s Club also will begin its Holiday Tour of Homes.
From 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., scenes from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens will be performed. Main Street will be illuminated by 75,000 lights as Parkwood Middle School drama students act out scenes from the story.
Performances will begin in Prestige Properties and continuing at the following businesses’ windows in sequential order: Bella DiMora Furnishings, Provisions by Sandy Creek, Gracious Interiors and Winning Awards. The final performance will be at Funki Monki.
The scenes will be acted every 15 minutes. The Waxhaw Reading Room Used Bookstore also will feature characters from the story.
The Rehobeth Presbyterian Church choir will stroll through town singing Christmas hymns. Richard Stieger will play saxophone, and Nichole McAllister will play harp.
To complete the mood, Eight Legs Gallery and Divine Custom Framing will host Crafts with Santa. Stewart’s Village Gallery will have its holiday open house 5-9 p.m. The Meeting Room will showcase the artist of the month.
Waxhaw United Methodist Church will have its live Nativity at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
On Dec. 6, runners will gather for the 8 a.m start of the Gingersnap 5K and Girls on the Run race.
The Museum of the Waxhaws will honor those who died at Pearl Harbor, as well as host a fundraiser at Fox Farms titled “Barbecue and Barn Dance.”
The Storefront Theatre of Waxhaw will present the Starving Artists production of “The Birth” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Waxhaw Presbyterian Church.
The weekend of Dec. 12 will feature “Wreaths Across America” at noon on that day.
But the biggest event of the 12 Days of Christmas takes place Dec. 14, when the town hosts its annual Christmas parade at 3 p.m.
In the week following the parade, Dec. 15-20, the town and the Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department have made arrangements for Santa to make appearances in 31 neighborhoods. He will not stop in the neighborhoods but will drive by to wish everyone merry Christmas. Santa will begin his journey each night at 7 p.m., rain or shine.
The last weekend of the 12 Days of Christmas offers “A Walk Through Bethlehem” at Waxhaw Baptist Church at 5 p.m. Dec. 20, and and “A Moravian Love Feast” at 11 a.m. Dec. 21 at Waxhaw United Methodist Church.
The town is also offering free horse-drawn carriage rides every weekend on Friday and Saturday through Dec. 20.