At this time of year, you might hear someone singing the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Sing it with me: “On the first day of Christmas / my true love gave to meeeeeee!” Okay. I’ll stop. But here’s something you may or may not know: this song was first published in 1780, but gained a melody written by Frederic Austin in 1909.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of getting twelve gifts is very appealing. But who needs the stress or expense of shopping for 12 gifts? If you choose to accept the challenge of brightening someone’s day for twelve days, you don’t have to worry—I’ve already done your shopping for you. No need to thank me. Just follow this handy, dandy list and you’re good to go. As an added bonus, you’ll put the Christ back into Christmas.
Take any 12 days in December and go for it. “Your true love” below can refer to anyone you love: your spouse; your kids; a friend—whoever you wish to bless. This is a great way to get your kids to see the blessings of giving (Acts 20:35).
- On the first day of Christmas, give your true love one huge hug.
- On the second day of Christmas, give your true love two opportunities to pray with you. You might start and end your day with prayer.
- On the third day of Christmas, give your true love three links to three Christ-centered Christmas songs or praise songs. One of the best ways to bless someone this Christmas is to remind that person of the great God who is always there with him or her.
- On the fourth day of Christmas, give your true love four “I love you” moments. However you choose to say it—words or actions—go for it.
- On the fifth day of Christmas, give your true love five affirmations. Grab some self-adhesive notes, note cards, or your phone if you prefer texting. If you use the notes method, write five wonderful things you appreciate about this person (or people) and place them around the house.
- On the sixth day of Christmas, give your true love six IOUs and act on them. Make them fun and whimsical. “I owe you six hugs”; “I owe you six kisses”; “I owe you six games of __________ (whatever game your family likes to play).”
- On the seventh day of Christmas, give your true love seven funny things to make him or her laugh. Like jokes? Tell them! Like funny cat videos? Provide links.
- On the eighth day of Christmas, give your true love eight new names ala Isaiah 62:4. This is another great way to affirm someone. For example, “You are an Overcomer.” “You are One Loved by God.”
- On the ninth day of Christmas, give your true love nine slips of blank paper. Encourage him or her to write his/her hopes and dreams on them. This is a good segue to prayer.
- On the tenth day of Christmas, give your true love ten minutes of uninterrupted listening.
- On the eleventh day of Christmas, give your true love eleven smiles or high fives.
- On the twelfth day of Christmas, give your true love 12 scriptural promises. For suggestions, stay tuned to the next post.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). And have a wonderful Advent season.
Linda Washington received a B.A. in English/Writing from Northwestern University (Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences) in Evanston, Illinois (1981), and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont (2012). In her many years in publishing, she has held full-time editorial positions as a curriculum editor at David C. Cook and Ligature Creative Studios (a textbook packager). Linda has authored or co-authored many fiction and nonfiction books for kids, teens, and adults, including God and Me (ages 10-12—Rainbow/Legacy Press); The Soul of C.S. Lewis (with Jerry Root, Wayne Martindale, and others—Tyndale House). Linda currently writes at “El Space,” her personal blog on the craft of writing.
Gifts image from lakewoodbaptistsbc.com. Mom hugging a child from lifexperiments.blogspot.com.