Epiphany is traditionally observed on January 6th. It is often called Three Kings Day. (Read more here. And the 9 Things you need to know about Epiphany.) It marks the visitation of the Magi bearing gifts to Jesus. If this celebration has not found its way into your holiday festivities perhaps you will consider trying one or two ways to celebrate. With small children, I’ve found that less is more in terms of preparation and enjoyment. I have made a list offering simple ideas for celebrating Epiphany as a family, but I encourage you to chose only one or two, depending on the ages of your children. If you find that your family enjoy the activities you can repeat the tradition next year. The beauty of trying and implementing new traditions are discovering what speaks to your family. There are many options which can provide an opportunity to try something new. You may find that some activities are best for when your children are very young and others can be added or replaced as your children age. Remember a family is a living being, it changes, grows, and because of that being willing to adjust your traditions will result in a beautiful experience.
1. A great way to begin is to simply read the Biblical account of the visit of the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12 to your family.
2. Bless your home. Use the Epiphany Home Blessing kits from Katherine Bogner is a great way to begin the home blessing tradition.
3. Decorate: Make glitter crowns for your dining room table. Or display the Magi and baby Jesus from your Nativity set in the center of the table. These origami 3 Kings make great table decorations.
4. Make crowns for each member of the family there are many ways to make a crown fit for the kings or queens in your home. Paper Bejeweled, Fabric Glitter & lace, Craft Felt, or even Chenille stems wear the crowns at supper or while enjoying a King cake.
5. Go outside for some stargazing. Star Date from the University of Texas has great resources.
6. Play the Find Baby Jesus game. Hide a baby doll dressed as the newborn baby Jesus. Everyone pretends to be Wisemen except for one person who plays the part of King Herod. The Wisemen race to find the baby before Herod. You can play this game indoors or outdoors.
7. Make Golden Magi Bread for a breakfast treat or make a King cake to enjoy for dessert. No time for baking? Often many local bakeries have King cakes available. In a pinch we have picked up a grocery store bundt cake and decorated it at home with canned frosting and topped with paper Magi cutouts. Choose your favorite image online, print it, then cut out. Tape to a toothpick and stick into your cake.
8. Make Golden Magi Bread for a breakfast treat or make a King cake to enjoy for dessert. No time for baking? Often many local bakeries have King cakes available. In a pinch we have picked up a grocery store bundt cake and decorated it at home with canned frosting and topped with paper Magi cutouts. Choose your favorite image online, print it, then cut out. Tape to a toothpick and stick into your cake.
9. Give Epiphany presents! One tradition is to draw names for gift exchanging. Other traditions are to save one Christmas present to open on Epiphany. Many families who do celebrate with gifts have noted that the Epiphany presents are typically things that are meaningful or useful. Just as the Magi’s gifts were for Jesus. Ex: socks, books, art supplies, lotion, etc. OR Choose three gifts, individually, or as a family, that you can give to Jesus in the coming year. Examples are: sponsor a child, serve a neighbor, volunteer at the food bank, contribute monthly to a food bank, purchase gifts through non-profit gift catalogs, etc.
10. Make crafts! Red Ted Art has many ideas for Three Kings Day. Make Magi ornaments, or make your own set of gifts for Jesus.
11. Print out and color these Three Kings coloring page, another coloring page. Learn how to draw the Three Wise Kings.
12. Read some picture books! You can look for them at your local library:
- The Last Straw by Fredrick Thury
- Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer
- The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie De Paola
- Danny and the Kings by Susan Cooper
- We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin