The Christmas season has always been a time of sharing for my family. I wanted my children to realize that, yes, while “getting” is certainly lots of fun, “giving” can be just as wonderful. So for years we went caroling to the neighbors to spread the cheer and baked up a storm to share the taste of Christmas. One year I decided it was time for my children to realize that while “giving” is wonderful, “giving without acknowledgment or thanks” can put a glow in your heart that lasts a very long time.
So Project 12 Days of Christmas began. The three children chose the older couple across the road to be the recipient of something on each of the twelve days before Christmas. We live on a country road with few neighbors so stealth was very important. We began 12 days before Christmas day by bringing them something in the amount of that day. The gift and an accompanying note was left in their mailbox at the end of the road or on their front porch just before my kids bedtime. We decorated pretty tags that were tied on each gift that said, “On the first day of Christmas…”, “On the second day of Christmas,,,”, etc. I don’t remember all the gifts but it went something like this: “On the first day of Christmas…” was accompanied by one wrapped jar of homemade jam. “On the second day of Christmas…” was accompanied by two homemade muffins. There were Christmas ornaments, wrapping paper, spools of ribbon, and bows. And there were oranges, candy canes, and decorated cookies. It was all just so much fun.
My children got very excited about their 12 Days of Christmas project and helped plan and wrap the gifts. They were especially into delivering the gifts, particularly when it was placed by the couple’s front door. One, or all three, of them would take flashlights, go down our driveway, cross over to the couple’s driveway, walk up to the front porch and silently place the gift to be found later. As the days went by stealth was required more and more as the couple began waiting for the next day’s surprise. This just heightened the excitement for my children. They could not wait for the next day to deliver another gift.
It was a Christmas my family will never forget and the children truly learned to appreciate the joy of giving just for giving. To this day I do not think the couple ever knew for sure who was leaving them gifts. Questions were asked but none of the other neighbors knew either, and lips were sealed in our family. Now my children have all moved away but I still like to do a little holiday remembrance for our neighbors. If David is home he is more than willing to help me bake and is always involved in the delivery. This year, instead of making family favorites (with the exception of French Orange Cakes in little bread containers), I baked items from recipes in the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, “Christmas Cookies”, from the December 2016 issue. They were all just so pretty I could not resist. Here is the result of a day of Christmas baking. Photos L to R are: Reindeer Sticks, Plates ready for delivery, French Orange Cakes, Surprise Snowballs, Cherry Pinwheels, and Sugar Cookie Cups.