25 Ways in 25 Days – Christmas Traditions, Kay Cahoon, Milk River, Alberta
In an effort to teach our six children that it is better to give than to receive during the Christmas season, our family started a tradition that continues even today. It starts around December first, with a family home evening. We talk about people we know who could use a little Christmas cheering up. These people are not limited to family or close friends. A prayer is said to help with the inspiration on who to choose. In the case of not being able to narrow it down to one person/family, then some years’ multiple families have been chosen.
We would as a family do a twist on the 12 days of Christmas for each family/person we chose. So starting Dec 12th and ending Dec 24th, we would secretly (and very quietly) drop off at their door a gift with a fun, goofy note. Of course, the idea was to not get caught by the family/person. As each night went by the recipient might be watching so creativity for the drop off was key.
As a family, we would take turns writing the note that was left to try and keep our identity a secret. We would as a family make, bake or wrap each gift with love and care. Often the notes would read something like, “On the first day of Christmas your pixie friends gave to you a partridge in a pear tree….are kidding? It’s wintertime, too cold for a partridge so please enjoy this treat!” Our children took turns doing the drop off each night.
This continues every night until on December 24th, we go and reveal ourselves and do Christmas caroling for them. There have been a couple of times we chose not to let the families know it was us, just let them enjoy the mystery and Spirit of Christmas.
The experiences over the past 29 years have been amazing, awesome and breathtakingly inspired as we have learned the impact our little efforts had on others’ lives. One fellow collected all 12 of the little gifts and put them under his tree so that Christmas morning he would have something to open. The elderly couple who were lonely that tried to catch us dropping off but never could and the teacher who found out how much her student cared and appreciated her.
Today our children are all grown with families of their own, but it is a blessing to know that they have continued this tradition of giving rather than receiving with our grandchildren. But actually we do receive, we receive the blessings of the Christmas Spirit.