This post was most recently updated on January 13th, 2022
Today happens to be Black Friday, and everyone is rushing to the stores for early holiday sales. Black Friday ads have been flooding your email inbox for weeks. If you’re like me, you’re wondering if you’re missing out on a great deal because you haven’t yet decided what you want to buy everyone. But instead of heading to the stores, I’m writing this sneak preview of the ’12 Days of Christmas for Families’. Why would I do that?
Well, it’s simple. I’m tired of letting the commercialism of Christmas get to me. I really do believe that Christmas began with the birth of a most precious Child. And that Child is my Savior and the only reason I have anything to celebrate in this life. I also believe in the magic of Christmas — the joy that comes from bringing a smile to another’s face — whether that smile comes from a plate of cookies, a thoughtfully wrapped gift, or an act of kindness.
Why have 12 days of Christmas?
It’s not the song I’m talking about, where everyone lingers on the “five gol-den rings” (though it is a fun song to sing)! Instead, this is 12 days before Christmas when you focus on doing something special or unique for your family or someone else’s…something that will make Christmas more meaningful.
In our family, we like to do a “12 days of Christmas” for someone else. We choose one family and surprise them with something special every night for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. We prefer to do this anonymously, so we “doorbell-ditch” our surprises. All of the items we give represent things we like to do at Christmas, too. Our family has experienced as much joy in giving as anyone could have possibly felt from receiving the items we left on their doorstep!
Bonus tip: My church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) has published a #LightTheWorld calendar every year for the last five years. The calendar features a month worth of things you can do to make Christmas more meaningful for you and others by focusing on service. Find the 2020 calendar here.
My 12 Days of Christmas for families
I want to share with you ideas for your own 12 days of Christmas. You can use them exactly as presented here, or tweak them and borrow from them whatever works for you and your family — or the people you wish to give them to. Of course, you can change the order of them, too. My daughter and I have worked together on these ideas, creating free printables, recipes, activity ideas and even a giveaway! (The fun graphics are all the brainchild of my daughter, and you can find more of her work on Etsy)
Beginning December 1st, and every day afterwards, I’ll publish another ‘Day of Christmas’ idea, with full instructions, ideas, printables, recipes, etc. You’ll have them all in time to start your own ’12 days of Christmas’ by the 13th or 14th of December.
Here’s your sneak preview:
1st day of Christmas: Family night with nativity script and a service calendar
2nd day of Christmas: Ideas for how to prepare your home for the Savior’s birth
3rd day of Christmas: a Christmas music playlist and French sipping chocolate recipe
4th day of Christmas: Christmas caroling with free lyric printables
5th day of Christmas: Baking Christmas sugar cookies with recipe and printable tags
6th day of Christmas: Making Christmas ornaments
7th day of Christmas: Bethlehem-inspired dinner
8th day of Christmas: Five easy DIY Christmas gift ideas
9th day of Christmas: Christmas Lights Bingo
10th day of Christmas: Making gingerbread houses, with recipes
11th day of Christmas: Christmas coloring pages, Christmas games to play
12th day of Christmas: Focus on the Christmas story with a link to a brand-new 20 minute video
And a bonus idea to use right now!
In our home, I always created Christmas Countdowns for my children. It’s a fun way to help them know how many days are left till Christmas. There are so many advent calendars and countdowns available, but the one I made is very simple and rather inexpensive. All you need for one countdown is 25 pieces of candy, cling wrap, and a few yards of curling ribbon.
These are super easy to assemble!
1. Cut a six-foot length of cling wrap; then cut in half lengthwise; this will be enough for two countdowns
2. Cut 26 pieces of curling ribbon, about 7-8″ long
3. Line up 25 pieces of candy down the center of the piece of cling wrap, about 1-2″ apart, leaving at least 6″ at one end of the cling wrap
4. Fold over one side of cling wrap over top of candies; repeat with the other side of the cling wrap
5. Twist the extra 6″ of cling wrap at end and form a loop, secure by tying a piece of curling ribbon at base of loop, just above the first piece of candy.
6. Tie a piece of curling ribbon around cling wrap in between every two pieces of candy
7. Curl the ribbon pieces with edge of scissors
8. Cut off excess cling wrap at the bottom end of the countdown, leaving only a short “tassel”
9. Hang on a hook, and start cutting off one piece for each day in December!
Christmas Candy countdowns are fun to make for your children, but also fun to give as gifts…to neighbors, servicemen, or missionaries.
Be sure to check back each day for my 12 Days of Christmas for families. Pin this post to help you find it again. Or better yet, subscribe to receive my emails in the form above (left side of page) and get them all in your email inbox!
This is going to be amazing! I’m so excited to follow along and use these Christmas ideas with my family to make the season even more special and Christ-centered! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas.
I hope it will help you and your family focus on having a more meaningful Christmas!
Love the Hershey Kiss Garland!!!
Glad you like it, Karin! It’s a long-standing tradition in our family.
Christmas is best with life’s simple pleasures!
Great ideas Tami! Definitely nice to get away from all the commercialism of the holidays and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
What a great idea! I love that you surprise a family every night. Gonna borrow some of your ideas to start some traditions with my son.