12 Days of Christmas gifts

First of all, no.  I’m not giving gifts for 12 days straight. Well, yes I am.  But it’s not what you think.

Lemme splain.  My 4 Michigan nieces are at that fun age where Christmas is still sugar plum fairies and waking up early in the morning to go shake packages.  They sometimes still sleep in footie pajamas.  They’re awesome.  They’re bundles of energy and joy.  And they’re also highly intelligent.

I plan to work hard to keep them that way.  I don’t want them to be crazy consumer kids for whom Christmas is just a big pile of gimme under some evergreen pre-trash that goes on the curb the day after Christmas.  First, their father is a nice tree-hugger, so I doubt the girls will have a ruthless disregard for the tree itself.  But as for the gifts under it?  I’d rather they understand the time and thought that their loved ones put into the gifts.  I’d rather they see that spending time with them is a gift they can give back to their loved ones.

So last year, their uncle and I cooked up the 12-days plan.  It doesn’t count down to the big giftapalooza.  Like the original 12 days of Christmas, for which 12th night was the culmination, which I believe some faiths still hold as the Epiphany, this count starts ON Christmas day.  On that day (last year), we gave them the first gift and explained what we were doing for them.  Not why, so much, but what to expect.

The gifts were sometimes communal (cookie mixes we put into jars to bake with them), sometimes silly (finger puppet “kits” from old gloves and scraps of felt), sometimes “normal” things (beanie babies we found at Goodwill that fit one day’s theme), sometimes just a pretty gift we spent time making for them (origami and shadow puppets), and sometimes the gift was for their parents (silpats for mom, a movie for dad).  A lot of the gifts were simply sitting down to make a craft or cookies together.

Actually, that was a gift we gave ourselves from our nieces.

I blogged the inception of the idea and days 1-7:
Dec. 23, where I conceive of the idea and almost give up
Dec. 25: On the first day of Christmas…
Dec. 26, where my nieces enjoy the crafts and I breath relief.
The second and third days of Christmas, where we take the girls on a “journey” to Tanzania and France.
Dec. 29, the fourth and fifth days of Christmas, where we also clarify that some gifts in the daily packages are for the parents.
Dec. 31, the sixth and seventh days of Christmas, where I leave Michigan and lose my updates, and also where the theme wears a bit thin.  Eh, it happens.

And we’re back to this year, where I decide to repeat the idea again, but this time not on Christmas Eve eve.  This year will be different.  This year will be more organized.  This year… I have almost 21 days to get my shizzle done.

First, though, I need to get some ornaments made for this year.  Last year, everyone got little periodic table geeky sweater ornaments.  In years before, I’ve made bread-dough ornaments for everyone’s first initial.  (In fact, having so many C- and S- and A-names in the family [and thus ornaments on the tree] led to using the first two letters on the tiny sweaters, which in turn made me see the elements emerging).

What have I got on tap for the ornaments and the 12-days theme this year?  Well, I can’t say it here because my oldest Michigan niece sees these updates posted to Facebook.  Hi, Melena!  No sneaky-peeks for joo!!  ❤  Also, since the gifts include ones for my sisters-in-law on FB, they would be tipped off too, although not as quickly as my teenage FB stalker.  😉

So here goes!


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