You might say our family is a little obsessed with Christmas. It's now continuing with our grandchildren too! We have quite a few traditions. Some of which are just non-negotiable. They happen every year without exception. Like making puppy chow (muddy buddies to some), jammies on Christmas Eve and heading down Christmas Tree lane just to name a few. However, our most treasured tradition by far is doing this 12 days of Christmas experience as a family. I say 'experience', because it truly is an amazing experience for both our family and the family on the receiving end!
For some this might not be anything new or different, but in case you haven't heard of this or are looking to implement a family tradition with your kids that will give memories that last a lifetime - then this is for you!
The premise is simple - pick a family that you'd like to brighten their Christmas. This could be simply a neighbor that is having a tough time, a family that a parent is serving in the military or just someone that you know would REALLY appreciate something like this.
HERE IT IS! You'll be purchasing a few items that correspond with each day of the traditional 12 days of Christmas song. We all should know that, right?! I've posted pictures of what our family has used before. Truthfully, it's changed up from year to year. We've added somethings to each day or taken away from some days depending if we wanted to be bit more budget friendly one year or were able to go all out another.
So basically this is a doorbell ditch thing. You'll need a driver and a runner. I have 5 children and they all would come just for the experience. There were also years where we were able to do more then one family and having more children to run was helpful. You'll start on December 13th. The evening time is best to do this. I'd suggest you switch up the times a bit, because the family might start to realize you're coming at a certain time each day if you don't. The driver will drive somewhere around the area of the house. The runner will jump out and start heading to the home and then put the item/items on the doorstep. I'd suggest you go through general ways of being sneaky with your family as to not get caught. If your family has small children, it may take another parent to go with them and that way they get the experience of doing this. Older children and certainly teenagers start to really get into this and learn exactly how to handle each situation. After dropping off the item, the runner will then quickly head back to the the designated spot that was determined ahead of time, where the car is. You'll continue to do this each day until Christmas Eve, at which time you'll go to the front door and ring the doorbell and reveal yourself to the family. You would then sing "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" to them. Afterwards, more often then not, they would invite us in for a bit. A lot of them even had a gift for us for making their Christmas extra special. I always wondered how they knew we would reveal ourselves at the end, but I think they have heard about it or just hoped that we would!!
Here's some things to consider:
Make sure the family is going to be home throughout all these days. Nothings worse then finding out they've left to go out of town! Also make sure they are going to be there around the time you'll be going as you'll be dropping of some perishable items. For the 5th day, we always liked to go in the morning, in most cases fairly early as to catch them before school or work. We liked to get fresh Kirspy Kreme donuts while they were hot!! We always found that THAT was the families highlight.
I realize that this is a HUGE commitment to undertake. Trust me, I know - and it is!! However, never once did we ever regret it. It has been and will always be the biggest, most talked about memory of Christmas in our family. If you come up with different ideas for the items of each day, then by all means switch it up! The pictures below are fairly self explanatory, but just in case I've noted what specifically they are below each picture. At the end of this post I've typed out the phrases for each day you can type out and print on some festive, Christmas paper. You leave this on the door step each night with the item/items.
A can of pears (for a partridge in a pear tree)
Either of box of turtle candies or a bag of something similar (shown here) + a bar of Dove soap
(3) cornish hens, for 3 french hens (you can find these at Costco during the holidays or usually any major grocery store)
(4) bags of sunflower seeds & plastic whistles (found at a dollar store or Target); for 4 calling birds
(5) glazed donuts (for 5 golden rings, these aren't Krispy Kreme because we don't have one here anymore; I liked to have them put (5) in one box and another dozen in another)
1/2 dozen eggs - for 6 geese a laying
(7) goldfish - this one of those that you want to make sure they're home; for 7 swans a swimming
(8) plastic gloves, blown up like a balloon - for 8 maids-a-milking; not pictured but a quart of milk would also be nice!
a frosted cake with 9 plastic dancing ladies; for 9 ladies dancing
a childs pair of tights stuffed with 4 oranges and 1 grapefruit on top, in each leg; suggesting "lords of leaping"; tie with a Christmas colored ribbon
11 party blowouts for 11 pipers piping
12 ding dongs with either pretzel sticks (for drumsticks, or mini candy candy shaped into a heart (2 on each ding dong)
On the first day of Christmas… a partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas… We could find no turtle doves, so instead we’ve brought you something that everybody loves.
On the third day of Christmas… No French Hens we could find, so please don’t think we’re “corney”, we just brought another kind.
On the fourth day of Christmas… No birds could be found. Throw out a little bird seed and see if they come around.
On the fifth day of Christmas… We’re bringing just for you…. FIIIIVEEE GOOOLDEN RIIINGS!!!
On the sixth day of Christmas… Six Geese laid eggs.
On the seventh day of Christmas… 7 swans would fill your yard, So we “scaled” down a bit and brought them in a jar.
On the eighth day of Christmas… Eight maids a milking.
On the ninth day of Christmas… Nine ladies dancing.
On the tenth day of Christmas… The 10 leaping lords went on a strike… said they’re leotards were just too tight… they’re very sorry… they can’t perform for you tonight.
On the eleventh day of Christmas… Eleven Pipers piping.
ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS… We leave 12 drummer’s drums and a big, heartfelt thank you for allowing us to come. You are very special people and we wish you Christmas cheer – not only for this season, but also for all the coming year. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!