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!
Wow that is very creative and certainly inspires the true spirit of Christmas. Now I feel lazy.ReplyDelete
Ha! Lazy you are not. :)Delete
Marianne is quite the creative lady.
Aw! What a sweet, sweet thing to do for Christmas. We usually adopt a family. I've been thinking Christmas since June though because I'm directing a Christmas program. (Music and spoken word.) I tell you what. I'll take Christmas for half the year.ReplyDelete
Woah! Those Christmas programs are a lot of work! I'm not surprised you've been thinking about it since June! Good luck with it!Delete
I wouldn't mind Christmas half the year as long as it didn't come with cold and snow. :)
That sounds like a great way to instill the true meaning of x-mas my children, would love to give it a try :)ReplyDelete
It most certainly is!Delete
I already do something similar so this is great. I do want to say that this is the second Christmas post I've read today. Imagine that.ReplyDelete
Have a fabulous day. ☺
The second one?!?! Ack!Delete
What do you do that's similar?
it does come quick and basically I try to avoid everything holiday; pumpkin, black Friday....yada, yada ...it truly stresses me out. However if I had to do a Christmas project the 12 days of Christmas sounds fun, quirky, and whimsical...enough to get a scrooge like me out of a rut...and who better to do this too are my kids and husband...why well why not, or maybe its because they have to live with me during the "most wonderful time in the world" LOL ;) - I'll go check out her book and blog....enjoy and good luck!ReplyDelete
It would definitely get a scrooge out of a rut, I have no doubt. And it would be a nice surprise gift for your family to distract them from your crazy. :)Delete
What a lovely, quirky and unusual thing to do for Christmas, I love it.ReplyDelete
Several years ago I 'adopted' an elderly neighbour who lived alone - her family didn't live near so I would look out for her in winter, shop for her when the weather was bad etc. and would always take her a card and small present at Christmas. Sadly, after a bad fall which landed her in hospital, she went to live in a nursing home where she passed away last year.
If I had to choose someone to give these gifts to now it would be my friend Lin who lives close by. She is only 52 but has arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems and a heart murmur but still holds down a part time job in a school and two cleaning jobs. She's always ready with a brew and a sympathetic ear if I need one, whatever the time of day or night, and has been a great comfort to me on the couple of occasions when I've suffered a major upset. She will also look after the dogs for me if I have to go somewhere at short notice and can't take them with me - she truly is a good friend.
It is a great idea, isn't it?Delete
I do worry for those elderly ladies who don't have family nearby. That was nice of you to take care of her like you did.
Lin sounds like a friend everyone wants to have! What a blessing! I'm sure she would love to receive the 12 gifts.
Thank you, Christine, for the opportunity to be on your sweet blog today! I'd love to hear how your 12 Days adventures goes. Maybe some updates over that time here on the blog? :-)ReplyDelete
You are welcome.Delete
I will most certainly post about it.
This is a great idea. Over the years we've adopted families at the holidays but nothing that went on for 12 days. I think that would be awesome. Thanks for sharing this Christine.ReplyDelete
Having it go on for 12 days is the best part, I think! The receiver gets to anticipate it every day. Something good to look forward to.Delete
What a wonderful idea!!!!! I love this!ReplyDelete
It is! Me, too! :)Delete
Back when we lived at Ave Maria Law school, one of our neighbors (a Mormon family) actually did that to us. They secretly left a little gift on our day each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas. It was just little things....like a can of pears for a Partridge in a Pear tree, but it was super fun and we loved it! I keep thinking I need to do that to someone else. I love the idea of doing it the 12 days after Christmas instead of before.ReplyDelete
How fun! Sounds like this might be the year to push you into doing it. ;)Delete
It's so hard to keep Advent the Advent season and Christmas the Christmas season, I'm always looking for ways to do it. I'm thinking this is a good way to keep Christmas in the right season.
Awesome idea. Have students at school that have some pretty bleak Christmases. Would love to do a dozen (or so) things for them!ReplyDelete
Oh May, that is a great idea!Delete
My 15yo daughter's best friend (her family) has been down on their luck this past year. This book could help us get ideas for us to be a blessing to them.ReplyDelete
I know there are several people I'd like to do this for, but the first one who comes to mind is a girl on Emma's volleyball team. She lives with her grandmother, as both parents are out of the picture, and she has pretty much raised herself. She's a tough cookie on the outside, but inside, I think she'd love to be remembered.ReplyDelete