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{A Season of Giving} 12 Days of Christmas: Celebrating through Giving

Stacy (the Great) of Kids Stuff World brought to my attention the 31 Days of Service/Giving Calender (and great e-book) from Mom It Forward. 

Having gotten to know Stacy really well through our joint Moms Fighting Hunger effort during Hunger Action Month, I was all too happen to jump on board and take on 12 Days of Christmas, the action prompt for Dec. 4th.

The e-book describes the prompt in this way:
Choose another family in your area to be the recipient of 12 days of gift giving. Try to think of a family that may be struggling financially, emotionally, or with health problems and might need a boost during the holiday season.E ach day, starting December 13, leave a gift anonymously on the doorstep of your chosen family. Involve the kiddos in your secret acts of service. Your gifts can relate to the “12 Days of Christmas” song verses (i.e. partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, etc.) but it’s not necessary. Try to choose or provide handmade gifts, drawings or treats that are tailored to the family. The gifts don’t have to be big or expensive, they just need to be from the heart. On the first night, leave a note with the gift explaining that they will be receiving gifts for the next 12 days. For example, “Congratulations! We’re excited to celebrate the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ with you. Check your doorstep each night until Christmas Eve for a gift to help you celebrate the holiday season.
We selected a family in our community with four children (8 yo boy, 5 yo girl and 2.5 yo twins), whose father has leukemia. Both parents (teachers) are currently unable to work because of his rigorous treatments. We are modifying the prompt a bit because of the family needing to be at the hospital (soon) for 30 days for chemotherapy and because of our own travel plans. However, we have chosen 12 fun, clever and special gifts to correspond with the 12 Days of Christmas theme/song, even if we end up needing to deliver them all at once for the convenience of the family. We are trying to keep in mind the ages of the children, too, in selecting the gifts to give. (I have a feeling Wild Thing will want to throw some hot wheels into the mix for the twins, as well as crayons and stickers!) 

Day 1: Partridge in a Pear Tree We liked the idea of making a Pear Tree with one pear for each family member and tossing in some angry birds to go with it -- much more fun, I think, than a partridge. Plus, a new card game could come in handy during waiting time at the hospital.

Day 2: Turtle Doves I could not decide between Turtles Candy + Dove Soap or Turtles Candy + Doves Chocolate, so I decided that we will give them one of each as our two turtle doves.  

Day 3: French Hens I am going with either a Rotissiere Chicken or El Pollo Loco Gift Card as I think these (chick)hen items will be more appreciated than French hens. Meals are always great gifts, particularly when families face challenging (and busy) times.

Day 4: Colly (or Calling) Birds For this one, I loved the idea of an activity or something the kids could make. At the same time, I was concerned that this might be too much for the family as well - needing to do an activity. When I found this Bird Feeder Cafe post from NurtureStore I knew it was the perfect idea. I will provide all of the items needed (and instructions): Pine cones, Microwave Popcorn, Bird Seeds, Raisins, Peanut Butter (in lieu of lard) etc. However, what I like most of all is that most of these items are great snack items that kids love, so if the bird feeder-making is too much, at least they have some great snack foods Win. Win.  

Day 5: Golden Rings  I am playing off of another bird-feeder activity here actually - but only one that happens to be able to be a bird feeder, but could also just be a cool way for kids to play with their foods - Cheerio Bird Feeders/Wreaths from Busy Kids = Happy Moms. I suspect they will get 5 rings (pre-made) and 5 pipe cleaners for making more and a whole box of Cheerios because I have not met a mom yet that did not have kids that loved Cheerios.

Day 6: Geese-A-Laying Two Dozen Eggs. (I am not sure how many eggs 6 geese would actually lay, but I am pretty sure they do not want goose eggs and know that we go through eggs pretty quickly at our house and have a lot less mouths to feed, so I am keeping it simple with the gift of eggs). I am realizing, though, that I might make a simple breakfast egg dish that is kid-friendly instead, so that it is even easier for the family.

Day 7: Swans-a-Swimming  7 Rubber Duckies or other Bath Toys for the 2.5 year-old twins. 

Day 8: Maids-A-Milking Gift Card to an ice cream shop with an 8 Maids-A-Milk-Shaking Note because I figure it is impossible to go wrong with ice cream.

Day 9:Ladies Dancing We are making a CD with 9 of our favorite dance-worthy holiday songs, which could be great for car trips to and from the hospital.

Day 10: Lords-A-Leaping An assortment of frog play items -- I think frogs are leapers that kids can relate to a little more than lords. :) I already got a silly leaping frog game at the dollar store, and plan on adding Frog and Toad book, Leap Frog learning activity or book and/or a few other items - it all depends on what we catch on sale.

Day 11: Pipers Piping  A set of Pipe cleaners and pony beads for bracelet making, which I think the 5 year-old girl will really love.

Day 12: Drummers Drumming Since musical toys might not go over so well at a hospital, I think we will go with giving the family drumsticks and our favorite chicken wing marinade or another restaurant /take out gift card because the gift card might be more convenient and useful given the upcoming hospital stay.

This is the beautiful family who will receive our 12 Days of Christmas Gifts.
If you have a creative suggestion or recommendation for one of our days/gift items, please let me know. We will probably be doing our first (perhaps only) delivery this weekend (because of the hospitalization schedule for the father), so we have a little bit of time to make some adjustments. Also, I just learned that the family only recently set up a GiveForward page to help with bone marrow transplant expenses. If you are so inclined, I would love it if people would support our 12 Days of Christmas effort with a $12 donation! Thanks! 

P.S. I love that this same concept (a different gift each day for a series of days) would also work well for Jewish family with 8 Days of Giving starting Dec. 8th, when Hanukkah begins and ending Dec. 16th. 

More From the Blog on Giving:
Lessons in Giving from a 3 year-old
Teaching Kids to Give - Giving Tuesday
Raising Compassionate Sons


  1. This is an amazing idea - you guys are completely awesome! Taking the time to do something so wonderful at one of the busiest times of the year is no mean feat.

    Thanks so much for linking up :)

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  2. What a sweet thought. I hope the family enjoys it. These are GREAT ideas!

  3. Such a beautiful idea - I love all the gifts you came up with and how they tie into your 12 Days of Christmas theme.

  4. Awesome idea! I would love for you to link this up at Mom's Library or my Gift of Giving link up. I pinned it! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm sitting here in pretty much complete awe of you at the moment! This is a fabulous undertaking and completely in the spirit of the season. What an incredible lesson in giving for your children. I've featured this on The Sunday Parenting Party this week. Thanks for linking up.

  6. What a great way to serve a family in need.


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