I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but Bulleye’s Playground has me all excited about Christmas gifts this because we’re doing something a little different.
Am I the only one who feel like Christmas morning is completely and totally stressful?
Even though, I try to make it meaningful with Pancake Delivery to all of our friends home for the holidays, one part of Christmas morning always, always bothers me- the speed at which my children tear through their gifts like wild banshee babies.
I’m amazed that before they truly comprehend the awesomeness of the gift I’ve spent HOURS researching and wrapping, they’re on to the next one! They’re eager- yes, but they’re also anxious. They’re enthusiastic, sure, but they’re also insatiable. They’re excited, but maybe, a little bit entitled too.
A far cry from the peace of the season I so deeply want them to experience.
This year I want to try something different.
If I can’t beat them I want to cut the crazy off at the pass by joining into the gift giving but under my terms: gifts with meaning, gifts within budget, and gifts that point us to Jesus.
You remember that song, the Twelve Days of Christmas? Nonsensical lyrics and out of touch gifts aside, have you ever wondered what that song was about and the genius behind celebrating 12 WHOLE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS?!?
Well, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a carol about “Christmastide”- the twelve days between Christmas Day and Epiphany on the church calendar. Advent, the season right before Christmastide is when we pause to meditate on the darkness of the world, we remember our need for Jesus, and lean in to the longing of our souls for Shalom, then on Christmas, we begin celebrating the gift of Jesus all the way through to Epiphany.
Traditionally, in the West, we don’t celebrate Christmas this way. Our calendar is closely tied to the retailer’s calendar, this is why Macy’s Parade brings in the Christmas season and Black Friday exists our celebrating is tied to the consumer’s calendar, not the Church’s.
When I realized this, I started to wonder: what would happen if my family followed the Church, sometimes called, the Liturgical calendar? What if during Advent we lit the 4 candles of Advent and joined with millions of other Christians as we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ? Then celebrate Christmas for twelve days, because twelve days are better than one!
The way this is going to work is every day of Christmastide, I’m going to read from the Scripture cards below, then they’ll get a corresponding gift leading up to Ephipany where we’ll give gifts to the poor- this year we’re doing a Holiday Sole Hope Party!!!
First Day of Christmas: Jesus
We’re starting with a bang. This gift is something they’ve been asking for all year. The one thing I’m sure would bring them joy. Like Jesus. Any other gifts from friends or church members, we’ll open on Christmas Day!
Second Day of Christmas: Name above Names
This is basically something personalized. Some ideas are wallets, water bottles, journals, and pretty art print.
Third Day of Christmas: Lamb of God
So there’s this cozy blanket I bought for myself when I was sick a few weeks ago. MY KIDS LOVE IT! In fact, my husband checks their beds during their bedtime routine to make sure no one has stolen it from our bed. So, this day, I’m going to give them their own cozy, knitted blanket.
Forth Day of Christmas: The Way
This is one of my favorite gifts because we’re planning three one day road trips for the kids and they get to pick one. We’re going to wrap a gift box in a map and inside will be the three envelopes with their three options. When we moved here a friend gave us a cool sheet full of SoCal day trips under $100. I can’t wait to research those options!
Fifth Day Of Christmas: Friend
No golden rings this day! Since we moved here, my kids have been having a hard time missing their friends. On Day Five of Christmas, we’re going to Skype with friends back in Boston, write them postcards, then their gift will be a registration for that one class they’ve always wanted. My hope is giving them new experiences will help them make new friends.
Sixth Day of Christmas: Savior
My kids have been begging for an allowance and chore chart, so this day, my husband and I will introduce the ways they can make money, chores, grades, general pleasantness in the face of sibling mayhem. Afterwards, we’ll make mason jar piggy banks with a $5 bill to help them…ahem..save.
Seventh Day of Christmas: New Song
This day, which happens to be New Year’s Eve, will be filled with music all day- Spotify playlists, each kid will get to pick their intro music and whenever they enter the room, I’ll play it, we’ll find a (free) concert, and then (hopefully) a family dance party as we ring in the New Year.
Eight Day of Christmas: Restorer of Hope
This day, I’ll replace something they loved, but lost in the move here from Boston.
Ninth Day of Christmas: Light of the World
I simply can’t wait for this day. When I told the kids about this name of Jesus, they all thought they would be getting electronics- nope! I’m going to give them something light-related, like head lamps, book lights, or decorating my daughter’s room in Christmas lights! Ahhhh!
Tenth Day of Christmas: The Word
Something to read.
Eleventh Day of Christmas: Alpha and Omega
Something that has a beginning and an end, like steps or a recipe, the idea is it has be educational and have a finished product they can be proud of. This day will break out the Lego-esque toys or Goldiblocks for Trinity.
Twelfth Day of Christmas: Chosen One
Today it’s kids’ choice, we’ll take them to the store or let them shop online for one thing within a budget.
So here it is, our 12 Days of Christmas Plan.
I’ll be writing on our new site (ready in a few more days) about each day and I hope you’ll join me. Which Name of Jesus is most meaningful for you? When you think of a counter-cultural Christmas, what does that mean to you?
Monday, I’ll share some simple ways to make our 12 Days of Christmas work for your family.