“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”
This memorable song inspired what is now an annual family tradition in our household.
Ever since I was a kid, Christmas was a long affair, lasting hours. We would get up early in the morning and unwrap presents for half a day, taking frequent bathroom breaks as needed. What can I say, my family loves to give.
After I got married I thought the everlasting Christmases would end. I was wrong, they got longer. So after our first daughter was born I knew I had to do something. What 7-month old could last for a half-day Christmas extravaganza? With this thought and the famous song in mind we decided to start the 12 Days of Christmas Family Tradition.
Every evening, starting on Dec 14 we give gifts. Sometimes it is one gift for the whole family to share. Some of the gifts are fun, some are practical.
On Christmas morning there is still a big celebration, but with fewer presents. Because of course Santa only comes once.
This year we are trying a new twist on our family tradition. Each day, and therefore each gift, will have a theme.
Gift of Giving
On the 1st day of Christmas instead of giving to family, we give gifts to other people or we will make a donation in someone’s name. Last year, I made a donation in my wife’s name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in our community. This is a nice way to celebrate the season of giving.
Gift of Song
Our house is always filled with music, so the 2nd day of Christmas is the gift of song. Presents include music downloads, CDs, musicals, or musical instruments.
Gift of Health
While not a very popular day with our kids, on this day we give presents that promote well-being. We give toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. or we give healthy snacks like fruit or health bars. Now you understand why this is not so popular.
Gift of Knowledge
On the 4th day of Christmas, we give gifts that teach or enlighten. Books, games, and puzzles all fall into this category.
Gift of Laughter
This is the day for funny movies, joke books, or any presents that make us laugh. Maybe it’s time for a gag gift.
Gift of Time
The obvious choice is clock or watch, but we will give coupons that allow people to spend time with another person, such as date night or daddy-daughter date coupons.
Gift of Imagination
The 7th day of Christmas if to encourage our imagination. Gifts like Play-Doh or art supplies will last all year. Always a great idea for our kids.
Gift of Family
Similar to the gift of time, the gift of family is to enjoy each other’s company. These presents will promote family time, gifts such as games, movies, or even gift cards to a favorite restaurant. Any gift that brings us closer together.
Gift of Faith
On the 9th day of Christmas, our true loves will give us something that strengthens our faith. Books, bibles, calendars with verses, this day highlights the true meaning of Christmas and helps us to be better Christians.
Gift of Fun
This day is a catch-all. We give any gift that the other person will enjoy, books, games, movies, crafts, supplies for hobbies, etc. The list is endless.
Gift of Love
A thoughtful gift. Gifts might include handmade gifts or personalized gifts
Gift of Memories
The 12th day is Christmas morning, a time to come together, open a few presents, eat good food, talk, laugh, and make memories.
We look forward to celebrating Christmas. The season is a lot of fun, filled with giving and receiving. It is also a time to reflect and to give thanks. I hope that our 12 days of giving accomplishes some of this.
Does your family have a Christmas tradition?