The Christmas season often brings about a strange mixture of emotions: overwhelm and exhaustion at all of the things that need done along with holiday events, programs, and outings; yet, anticipation and joy at the wonder of the season and excitement for the celebration that culminates on Christmas day. 

While I’m sure you do not want one more thing to add to your list of things to do, I would like to share with you an idea that just might help you extend your celebration just a little bit, while also providing a way for you to connect with your family throughout the holiday season. 

An Unexpected Way to Connect

Last Christmas I did this for my husband for the first time. I planned all my gifts ahead of time and starting on December 14th, I gave him the first gift of Christmas, with a small gift each day after that until Christmas. While it was a little bit of extra work on the front end (truly, fun work!), I found that this little gifting was the perfect way to help us connect and enjoy each other during a busy season. 

What are the Twelve Days of Christmas?

Few Christmas celebrations are complete without some rendition of the popular Christmas song, The 12 Days of Christmas. The song tells a story of a lover who gave his love 12 gifts, one on each day of the 12 days of Christmas, each gift growing as the numbers count upward. According to church history, the twelve days of Christmas start on December 25 and ends on January 6th, which is Epiphany, the day that the Wise Men visited baby Jesus. 

While you may choose to extend your Christmas celebration by twelve days after Christmas, some people like to celebrate the twelve days leading up to Christmas; you could either start on December 13th and conclude on Christmas Eve or start on December 14th and conclude on Christmas Day. This is the way I have done it in the past, and while it does require some thinking and planning ahead, it can be a fun way to help you get into the Christmas spirit. 

What Gifts Do I Give for the Twelve Days of Christmas?

The first year I did this for my husband, I had planned (months) in advance small, inexpensive gifts that I could give him on each of the twelve days. I listed out each of the gifts from the 12 days of Christmas carol and then brainstormed a little gift I could give my husband for each of those days that tied into the theme or gift from the classic song. A simpler, but no less special, way to do this is to pick a small gift for each of the twelve days without necessarily correlating it to the gift of the song. If you do it this way, an easy way to tie it back to the traditional gifts is to use gift tags with the correlating item on them. Do a quick search on Etsy or Amazon and you’ll find lots of options. I actually love this idea because you could save the days of Christmas tags and use them year after year! 

A fun way to do this for your kiddos is to choose twelve picture books (from your own home, the library, or buy new!) and wrap them. Then unwrap one new book each day for the twelve days leading up to Christmas. Do what works best for you! The idea is to make a fun, special way to connect with your family this holiday season. 

What are the 12 Gifts of Christmas?

1. A partridge in a pear tree

2. Two turtle doves

3. Three French hens

4. Four calling birds

5. Five golden rings

6. Six geese a-laying

7. Seven swans a-swimming

8. Eight maids a-milking

9. Nine ladies dancing

10. Ten lords a- leaping

11. Eleven pipers piping

12. Twelve drummers drumming

What Gifts Can I Give for the Twelve Days?

Now that we’ve talked about a few ways that you could do this and refreshed our memories on the actual gifts, let’s talk about some gift ideas for each day. This is maybe the hardest part, but with a little creativity, you should have plenty of ideas. 

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

For the first day of Christmas, you could choose a gift that is either bird or pear related. Since there are several other bird themed gifts, I prefer to find something that includes a pear. Here’s some ideas:

1. A basket of fresh pears

2. Pear jelly or jam along with a loaf of homemade bread

3. A pear glaze or vinegar for meat

4. Pear scented candle

5. Pear scented hand soap

Two Turtle Doves

​The second day of Christmas is two turtle doves. Since doves are often a symbol of love and peace, I like to think about a gift that evokes those emotions. 

Dove Dark Chocolate is an easy gift for this day, especially if you have a chocolate lover in your home. You could also give a “gift” of something that brings feelings of peace or relaxation to the person you’re gifting- maybe a gift certificate for a relaxing bath at home, or a gift certificate to a local spa for a pedicure or massage. 

Three French Hens

The third day of Christmas has lots of possibilities. You could go with a French theme or a chicken/hen theme. If you’re giving gifts to someone who loves French decor, this is an easy gift. 

For chicken inspired gift ideas you could consider:

1. A chicken keeping book for the chicken keeping enthusiast

2. Make a favorite chicken dish on this day OR give a certificate to redeem at a later time

3. Chicken mug

4. Chicken t-shirt

Four Calling Birds

The fourth day of Christmas will take a little more creativity to come up with a gift. The birds are back, so you could do something with this idea or you could choose a gift related to “calling”. Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking.

1. Bird Watch book for the bird enthusiast (this one for kiddos!)

2. Binoculars to watch for birds

3. Gadget for cell phone such as a selfie stick or finger loop

​4. Note cards with birds – send one as a “calling card” to your loved one

5. A simple note that starts with the phrase, “Let me call you sweetheart…”

Five Golden Rings

The fifth day of Christmas is the gift every girl dreams of…FIVE gold rings. If you have the opportunity, you could give a special ring or piece of jewelry to your lover or even give a gift card to your local jewelry store. 

Of course, not everyone will be able to afford jewelry for this day, so I like to think outside the box, and great idea for this days is another type of golden ring – donuts! Buy them, make your own, or give a redeemable gift certificate – either way this is sure to be a sweet gift day!

Six Geese a-Laying

On the sixth day of Christmas, I like to think about a gift around the idea of eggs and one easy way to do this is to give or make a treat that uses lots of eggs. You could stretch this and include ice cream, but I would think about making a custard or a delicious eggs Benedict. If you don’t feel comfortable making this treat, consider going out to eat on this day or giving a certificate to redeem at a later time. My only encouragement is that eggs benedict is easier to make than it sounds and it is delicious! I hope you’ll give it a try!

Seven Swans a-Swimming

Moving on the the seven swans and the seventh day of Christmas. This one can be tricky, especially since most of us are not in the “swimming” season at Christmas. If you are, this might be easier because you could give a gift like a swimsuit or pool toy, maybe even a season pass to your local pool. Otherwise you may have to think outside the box a little, but think about other water options like a “Lake Life” t-shirt or a home spa night. 

Eight Maids a-Milking

The eighth day of Christmas is eight maids a-milking and there are so many options for this around the theme of milk or cows. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking:

1. Highland cow hair clips

2. Cow tote bag

3. Cow print blanket

4. Coupon or gift card for ice cream

5. Make homemade ice cream and serve with your favorite brownies

Nine Ladies Dancing

I think the ninth day of Christmas is my favorite if you decide on a gift that has anything to do with the Nutcracker! If it’s a possibility to see a live performance of the Nutcracker, this would be my favorite gift idea. This YouTube video is my favorite recorded performance and you could make a movie night of watching it together with your love(s). Dress up and watch it live or make it a cozy night in and have popcorn and hot chocolate. Favorite Nutcracker book here!

​Ten Lords a-Leaping

On the tenth day of Christmas you might have to stretch your imagination. I think giving the gift of popcorn is a great way to knock out this gift. Give pre-popped corn in a cheese or caramel flavor OR give make a little gift basket with un-popped corn and flavored salts. If you’re really wanting to go big, give a popcorn popper! If popcorn isn’t your thing, check out this mug or this t-shirt for an easy way to knock out this gift idea. 

Eleven Pipers Piping

Eleven pipers piping might make for a hard eleventh day of Christmas themed gift unless the one you’re giving to likes to smoke a pipe, in which case, go for a gift along this line! My favorite gifts for this day are things that are “piping hot”. A cute mug with homemade hot chocolate mix or a favorite tea would make great small gifts for this day.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

On the twelfth day of Christmas there lots of great ideas. Of course, if you have a drummer in your home, you could give a gift with something your drummer needs or wants related to the drums. A toy drum for your little drummers. You could watch the movie “The Little Drummer Boy” or give a copy of the book. For fun spin on the “drummer” make chicken fried drumsticks for a surprise meal!

I hope you have enjoyed this list of twelve days of Christmas gift ideas. Remember, especially this time of year, the purpose of the 12 days of Christmas gifts is to create connection, so don’t shy away from simple gifts that will promote quality time between you and your loved ones. Some of my favorite gift ideas are the ones that don’t cost any money, like watching a movie or show together. These are the gifts that create memories for years to come. 

If you need some gift tags for your gifts, download my FREE 12 Days of Christmas gift tags + planning sheet here!

If you’ve never considered it, I hope you’ll think about doing a twelve days of Christmas celebration in your home this year, maybe it will become a new tradition!

*As an Amazon affiliate I may earn a small amount from qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my small business. 

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