Over the last few years, the economy has gotten worse. Keeping that in mind, gifts at the holidays have become harder to afford and ideas for family Christmas gifts have been harder to think of while still staying within a budget. So with keeping this in mind, my family and I started the tradition of celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. Twelve days before Christmas, we give each member of our immediate family, a small, inexpensive, wrapped gift. And over the years we have gotten very creative with ideas for family Christmas gifts. Most of these gifts have been hand-made through the year and we try hard to fit the gift to the person. For example, I am an avid reader. To fit presents to me, I have been given home-made bookmarks (as I always seem to lose my place and I have been told that it is very cruel to books to fold the corner down to mark my place). My wife is proud of her nails. She had the habit of biting them for several decades and one day she just stopped. The children love to shop for a special bottle of holiday colored nail polish for mom to wear over the holidays. One of my children is an artist-in-training and loves to draw, so crayons or colored pencils are an excellent idea.
The first year we did the Twelve Days of Christmas, the children groaned a bit but once they found out that they would get a present a day for twelve days instead of just one, they were super excited and couldn’t wait to get started.
Each year we usually start on the gifting process in September. That way it gives all of us plenty of time to make our gifts. Granted, we don’t make everything; however there is a limit of $3.00 on any one gift that needs or wants to be purchased. For example, one year my wife took some candid shots of each of the children separately and together to frame and give to me as one of my gifts and a frame was purchased for each photo so the cost of the frame and photo could not exceed $3.00 for any one framed photo. Incidentally, those framed photos are proudly displayed in my office.
The children are responsible for wrapping gifts. My wife works with each child to help wrap and tag gifts. Each gift has a name and a number for the day (such as day 1, day 2 and so on). I help the children with gifts for mom so that she isn’t let in on the secret until the day she gets the present. Each evening, after dinner, we can all go to the tree and get our gift for the day. We all sit around the tree and each opens up his or her gift so that the whole family can enjoy the moment.
And of course, Santa makes his way down the chimney on Christmas morning; what Christmas would be complete without a visit from the big guy in red?