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Home arrow Articles arrow The Twelve Days of Christmas -- My Holiday Tradition

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The Twelve Days of Christmas -- My Holiday Tradition Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 30 November 2004
As Christmas approaches each year I look forward to continuing a tradition that I started a few years ago. On each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas Day I give my wife a small gift. While this idea was inspired by the song I don't actually give the gifts that the song suggests. She might like the five golden rings each year but I doubt she'd have much use for eight maids a milking, or the swans, or the geese, and so on. Instead, I give her small gifts that are sometimes sentimental, sometimes useful, and sometimes just funny.
The twelve days of Christmas referred to in the song are the days following Christmas.  In some religous traditions there are events associated with each day. For my purpose it made more sense to give a small gift each day leading up to Christmas.  Giving the gifts afterwards would be a bit anticlimactic.
Since I've been doing this for about five years and my wife loves it I thought maybe it was time to share the idea with others so they can make their "significant others" happy too.  As a guy I find it hard sometimes to think of things to do for my wife.  If others are in the same boat then maybe they will appreciate the idea presented here.
How exactly does it work?
Well, it's not rocket science.  It's pretty simple.  Starting on December 13th, that's twelve days before Christmas, I give my wife a small gift each day.  I prefer to give it to her in the morning but it doesn't always work out that way.  Along with the gift I sing a line or two from a Christmas song.  Once she opens the gift she has to give me a little kiss.  It's all a part of the celebration.
Occasionally, depending on the gift, I might hide it somewhere.  I plan the hiding place to be somewhere that she will likely find during the day.  For example, I've placed the wrapped gift on the instrument panel of her car or tucked in the pages of her current book.
The kids now get into the act too.  They like to hear about Mom's new gift each day.  They get excited when I bring it out.  Sometimes, if I've been waiting till the evening to bring the gift out, they will start asking me as soon as I get home from work to give Mom her gift for the day.  I really like the affect it has on the kids. 
First of all it helps them see just how much I love and adore their mother.  It's important that kids see the love and respect that parents have for each other.  It helps the kids feel more loved.  It also helps the kids feel more confident of themselves as they live their own lives.
Giving gifts emphasizes the gift-giving aspect of Christmas over the gift-getting aspect.  Most of my kids are still pretty young so this point is most relevant to them right now.  Sometimes, when you're only 5 years old, it's hard to focus on the joy of giving when you really just want to open your own gifts.  As a family we make a big deal out of giving Mom a gift and the kids experience first hand the warm fuzzies that giving can bring.
What sort of gifts?
The first year that I did the twelve days I gave my wife a small book full of Christmas stories and poems as the first-day gift.  After a couple days my wife started to catch on to what was going on (probably helped that I would sing the song each time) and then she started writing down the gift from each day on the inside cover of the book.  Now I always give a book first so she can record all the gifts.  I'm talking about one of those small colorful books that start popping up all over the bookstores after Thanksgiving.  For the other days I tend to try to find things that she would appreciate.  She doesn't like junk and clutter so I avoid things that are mainly meant just to sit around on a table somewhere. Sometimes the gifts are very practical and mundane.
The best gifts are personal so it won't really do for me to create a day-by-day gift guide here but I'll list some of the gifts that I've gotten for my wife. 
She likes to decorate presents that she wraps.  Lots of ribbons, bows, and fancy labels.  So to help her in that I have often bought her big fancy bows or specialty tape that has Christmas designs printed on it.  Along these same lines I've bought silver and gold ink pens.  They create a festive look on the name tags for gifts.  Another winner is small boxes of her favorite candies.  Usually I can find a small package with 4 chocolate covered cherries or a single Snickers soldier.  Christmas socks are another great idea.  Scented candles have been nice gifts in the past.  One of the best places for me to get ideas is to walk through some of the shops in a shoping mall.  Just browsing through the aisle tends to bring things to mind.  Overall I try to stick to about $2 per gift.  This is just my budget because I want to have enough Christmas money for buying her other gifts for Christmas Day.
Since I started doing this I have really enjoyed the whole thing.  Each year I can hardly wait for December 13th when she'll open her first gift. This is one tradition I hope to continue for the rest of our lives. 
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 November 2006 )

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