The 12 Days of Christmas (Mom’s Version)



“On the first day of Christmas

My true love gave to me

A partridge in a pear tree.”

And, so goes the song….  It gets stuck in your head, and you feel yourself stretching out those five g-o-l-d-e-n rings right on cue.  The version of The Twelve Days of Christmas we’re most familiar with was written in 1909 by an English composer, Frederick Austin. We can blame him for those drawn-out golden rings!

Beyond the song spinning through your head, have you ever done The 12 Days of Christmas for someone? It’s a fun memory that I recall from my childhood. My Mom only did it once, as I remember. I think I was 11 or 12 at the time, but I’ve remembered it all these years, and it always makes me smile.

Don’t worry; there are no doves, gold rings, swans, or drummers drumming involved. Nor does the number of gifts increase each day up to the 12th day. Here’s how Mom celebrated….

On the first day of the 12 days, Mom brought my stocking to me as she woke me for school. It was a big surprise to me; she planned the whole thing, and I had no idea. I don’t remember all the small gifts, that wasn’t the point. It was just so much fun every morning to see what was in my stocking for that day. None of the gifts were expensive; most were practical—it was great fun to anticipate what would be there the next morning. One day might be a tube of toothpaste, a new toothbrush, deodorant, a candy cane, a new pair of socks, or a hair bow.

Of course, I told my friends at school, so every day, the first question was, “What was in your stocking this morning?” I think we were all disappointed when the 12 days were over.

Just that one experience created such a lasting memory, one that I, in turn, shared with my daughter when she was around 12. I used Mom’s technique and again, all the gifts were small things that she might need or enjoy. Sharing that experience brought all my memories rushing back like I was a kid all over again.

Perhaps you’ve had a similar memory from your childhood of something that your family did at Christmas that was unique, and that created a lifelong memory. Why not recreate the experience for your child or grandchild to ensure that the tradition continues through the generations?

One important takeaway from The 12 Days of Christmas was that gifts didn’t need to be expensive or the latest gadget or fad. Just being thoughtful and giving something that was useful with a huge helping of love was more than enough. Honestly, that year, those 12 days meant so much that I don’t remember anything about what was under the tree on Christmas morning.

As you celebrate with family and friends, don’t forget the small stuff—it’s sometimes the most important of all.  Spread love and joy; hope, faith, and peace. Merry Christmas!


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