A few years ago my cousin and I were both struggling to come up with memorable Christmas gifts for our mothers. Both of our Moms are practical and modest; both have their “needs” met. Daughters of the Depression, neither would ever ask for … more.
Racking our brains, we created a new tradition: Let’s do the 12 Days of Christmas! (Renamed the 12 Days of Delight!)
And with that, our plan was hatched. We’d scour the earth to find 12 unique gifts, wrap them individually and number them from 1 to 12. We’d ship a package to each of them with STRICT instructions to begin opening their gifts – one per day – 12 days ahead of Christmas (December 14th) with the last present being saved for Christmas morning.
It didn’t take us long to toss the idea of coordinating our 12 gifts with partridges, Lords-a-Leaping and geese. Instead we shopped for our girls considering their own individual tastes and interests. Her Mom (my Aunt Irene) loves girly-girl stuff, singer Johnny Reid and black licorice. My Mom enjoys books, gourmet nuts and favors songbirds and politics. A sampling of our inexpensive array of gifts included: slippers, tea towels, bath products, a new wallet with $$ tucked inside, books, hot chocolate, candy, word search games, pajamas and other clothing.
Both ladies enjoyed the game very much but when my Mom softly commented, “it’s just so much” I listened and, next year, trimmed hers down to the “6 days of Christmas” (she opens 1 present every other day until Christmas and seems much more comfortable with this version). My Auntie? Don’t you touch her 12! She lines up her gifts and displays them proudly to all visitors who stop by. We’ve adjusted as we’ve gone along and it’s worked out just fine.
Sometimes, in spite of our best intentions, distance separates us from loved ones and it’s just harder to accept at the holidays. Sometimes the person you want to “do” for already has what they need. This is just a fun little exercise that lets your intended know they’re thought of every day. That you’re right with them, smiling and delighting, loving them and enjoying a special tradition .. together.
P.S. –the 12 days of Delight is easily adapted for children and other adults. Have a niece who won’t be home this Christmas? Know someone with a spouse in the Military? Someone who might need a little extra TLC this holiday season? I promise you, the 12 days of Delight delivers.
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Have you started any new holiday traditions?