Monday, November 18, 2019

Fun Family Traditions: The 12 Days of Christmas

When Christmas rolled around last year, we had only been in Florida for five months. We were struggling. It takes time to become rooted in an area and some of our boys chose to distance themselves from the family as well. My subconscious solution was to work more. However, between working through a special goal planner and the encouragement of friends, I realized my error.

Time is short when they are home with us, right? I stopped and began praying about how I could make this Christmas stand out or feel exciting. That's when the idea for the Twelve Days Of Christmas came to me. From there I went to Pinterest and now I'm sharing it with you!

I'm sharing it with you because though it was a LOT of work and not every moment was met with appreciation, it produced the result I hoped for! It was worth the effort and helped our family make memories we wouldn't have had otherwise.  And you know what? I had fun!

Perhaps you need inspiration to make sweet memories! Hopefully this post will do just that. Warning! These pictures are not blog perfect and my poems are lame. The idea is to inspire you with what works for your family!
The Day Before - Building Anticipation!
Tomorrow beings a Special Day
We will celebrate Christmas in a new way...
The 12 Days of Christmas to help you prepare!

On Day One - A Poem and a simple gift
"Head on over, for under the tree you'll find day ONE from dad and me.
Nothing too big, in fact quite small
But we know it's the thought after all
Finding as many ways to Say I love you - 
Because of Jesus: the Word, The Peace, the Joy, God with us! "

Look at those smiles. The big boys had already left for school, but they had smiles too!
Days Two & Three: Chocolates and another toy.

Day 4 - I stepped it up with another poem and a bit of a scavenger hunt.
Good morning and welcome to day FOUR
Today you will search a little MORE
Look where we keep our perishables COLD
Now skip to the tree for silver and GOLD
Lastly, travel to the window SILL
For a gift in science, if you Will

In the fridge I had their favorite sugary drink - NEHIs!
Under the tree were chocolate "treasures" wrapped in silver and gold foil.
The "Science" was a toy that grows in water. The big boys received silly putty to help with focus.

Day 5 - A Poem For an Adventure
This day we drove together as a family to Five and Below. They were to draw an envelope with a name and $7.00 to shop for their drawn sibling. They were to keep their sibling a secret. Because their boys, I made it a competition for who could find their gift the fastest. The only aspect I would change in this outing is to inform the boys that this would not be a present that went under the tree. They would open it when they got home. My eldest thought this would be "the" sibling gift and was concerned when he noticed some siblings looking at oversized whoopee cushions. ha!

Day 6 - 9: Various Toys, Car Accessories etc...

Day 10 - A Family Outing to the Big Cat Habitat

My intent was to build family togetherness, which is more of a challenge with teens. This was not met with much enthusiasm but I took the resistance in stride. One would not ruin it for the rest! And  you know what? By the end, everyone was having fun.

Day 11 - A Game That Made Us All Laugh
All you need for this quick and simple game is a die and something they won't like to eat or drink. Again, I have all boys. They had to keep rolling until they rolled a Six. Only one kid was fortunate enough to roll a SIX right out of the gate. The rest provided entertainment and laughter.
Roll A ONE - Sing Away in a Manger WITH hand motions
Roll A TWO - Do 20 Pushups
Roll A Three - Catch 3 Christmas m&ms in your mouth
Roll A Four - Slam a cup of La Croix (none of them like that soda)
Roll A Five - Eat a Spoon of Mayo
Roll A Six - Claim Your Prize
Day 12 was Christmas Eve
We went to Christmas Eve service together, followed by dinner with the grandparents and the Uncle Russ and Aunt Annie. Their gift was our traditional pajamas that they opened before bed!

Thinking about starting a tradition like this? Here are a few tips and thoughts!

1. Decide how many days and how many gift or adventures you're going to need. I shopped the dollar spots at Target, went to the Dollar store and even a local discover toy store. If you wanted to repeat this tradition the following year, you could shop all year for fun discoveries! 
2. Make it easy! I bought paper lunch sacks and printed out a number for each day. I started out whole punching the bag and number, tying them on with twine etc. That became too cumbersome so I ended up taping the number to the bag. 
3. Set up anticipation with a special breakfast and a note. For me that meant their favorite cereal and a coffee cake from the local bakery.
4. Don't set your expectations to high. Why are you doing this? Is it one more thing to make you too busy? Or is this something that your family may "need" right now?  If you're doing it for the right reasons it will help if you receive a negative response from time to time. By the way, the only negative response I had was for family outings. It can be tough with teens!

This year I plan to do something similar to this, only less days. I'll keep you posted. What is your favorite family tradition?



  1. YES! I remember this from last year and it inspired me so. Even when you don’t think you are an inspiration and the BEST mama!

  2. I love this idea! I remember the year Mikayla realized there was no Santa we did a scavenger hunt for her to get her "big" gift on Christmas morning. I might do this when she's back for the holiday's!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

  3. Great post, Thanks for sharing, x
    I'm following you! X.

  4. trovo che sia una bellissima iniziativa *_*

  5. This is incredible. You are just the coolest mom!

  6. I love this!! Going to keep it in mind!

  7. THE PERFECT idea for Christmas! Love it, Chrissy!

  8. This is adorable! You put a lot of time and effort into this and it turned out so well! Love this idea!

  9. Chrissy, I love this! We are struggling this year to make the holidays special on a super tight budget. I am going to follow suit! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and linking up.



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