As I write this, there are 66 days until Christmas.
I know, it's not even Halloween, but here I am talking about Christmas.
Normally, I hate it when people do that.
BUT I have a good reason!
My blog friend, Marianne, who writes Adventures in the Ballpark, has written a book about an activity she and her family have been doing for years. Every December, for 12 days straight, they surprise another family with a small gift based on the 12 Days of Christmas song. As Marianne wrote, "Receiving this gift from our friends in 1993 was a turning point for me in how I celebrate Christmas. It changed my heart and my perspective."
I read the book.
Ideas were flying through my head.
I told the kids about the book.
They immediately came up with families who would enjoy receiving this surprise.
So we're going to do it.
And we have 66 days to prepare. (Marianne's family does this for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. I think we're going to do it for the 12 days between Christmas and the Epiphany.)
Some might think, "I'm creative. I can come up with things to give for each day. Why should I buy the book?"
I know some think that, 'cause I thought it.
True. I probably could come up with something for each day. But why reinvent the wheel?
In each of 12 chapters, Marianne has 12 possiblities for each line of the song. Not only does she give ideas, she has photos of what they've done and the cards which accompany each gift. There are recipes for snacks and instructions on how to make certain crafts. She encourages her readers to add their own flare and to "delightfully veer" from the traditional gift for that day. For example, it's not feasible for most families to give or receive a real partridge in a real pear tree. Instead, Marianne's family has given a paper partridge in a prayer tree, covered in "pears" with Scripture verses written on them.
There are so many wonderful ideas in this book, but just as important are the personal stories Marianne adds. There are quotes from families who have received the gifts. There are stories from families who have passed on the tradition by doing this for other families each year. There are also stories of how this idea has blossomed and been used throughout the year by different groups. Shoot, even a school has started doing it!
It's all so very inspiring.
My family has decided to surprise the widow I told you about a couple of months ago. Her husband passed away 2 years ago, and her son is having major health issues. She will most certainly enjoy the gifts.
In making our choice, we kept in mind our ability to actually deliver the gifts. If the person lived out of the way, the chances of this getting done would be slim. Fortunately, this woman lives very near the school, so we won't have trouble swinging by her house on our way home.
I've already started getting the gifts ready. There was a bird on a stick (a decoration for a flower garden) on the clearance table at Meijer for a dollar. It will be a good start to Day 1's gift.
If you would like to buy the book, she has two places you can purchase it (both electronic).
Click HERE to buy it on Smashwords, or HERE to purchase it for your Nook.
But there's more!
Marianne has agreed to give one copy of the book (in pdf form through an email) to one of my readers.
If you want to be in the drawing, tell me in the comments for whom you would like to give the 12 gifts. You have one week to enter. I'll draw a name from a hat on Wednesday, October 28.
How marvelous it would be if we all did this, spreading joy and changing hearts all over the country.
Do you have a family tradition of gift-giving for Christmas?
Have a lovely day!