Service for Young Children: Give the Twelve Days of Christmas

We choose a family and give them twelve days of Christmas gifts to show them we care.Our family is trying a new tradition this year! We will be “elves” helping pass along the Christmas spirit by delivering gifts for the Twelve Days of Christmas. We’ve decided on a family we know and love, and we are going to surprise them each day with a Christmas treat of some kind! My kids are already delighted at the plan we’ve developed. We’ve been brainstorming creatively what types of items we may want to give them. Implementing such a plan requires creative thinking about the family and generosity.

When I was in college, one year a friend left small gifts for me outside the door for 12 days leading up to Christmas. I remember that the first days was a can of pears (to correlate with the 12 Days of Christmas song). Another day I received a set of “drummers” stickers. I cannot remember all the days but they were mostly small trinkets. Nevertheless, it was so much fun to look forward to the next day’s gift. It helped make the Christmas season special to know someone thought of me.

The Details about the Twelve Days of Christmas Service

There are so many different ways to approach the twelve days of Christmas service idea! If you want to do it, here are some things to consider.

Who. We decided to gift to a family that new to our church congregation. I cannot imagine moving so near to the holidays, so this is to make things fun for them in their new home! We want to them to know they are loved in their new neighborhood. You could also choose someone you know may need financial assistance during the holidays and choose to gift practical items to them as well.

Delivery. Do you want to do twelve days in a row, or deliver twelve presents all at once? You will be less likely to be found out if you deliver all at once.

Theme. Do you want the presents to correlate to the Christmas song? Do you want the gifts to correlate to the number of the day (i.e., six items on day six)? Or do you want a more general theme or no theme at all?

Types of items. You may not want to leave edible gifts on the step if animals can get them and you are not sure your family will be home right away.

Secret or not. Do you want your identity to remain a secret? Obviously, we do not do things for attention, so staying secretive is fun. On the other hand, it fun, as a receiver, to know who to thank.

When. Some people do the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Others may do the 12 days after Christmas leading to Epiphany. We plan to start December 1, because of family vacation plans.

My kids loved planning twelve days of Christmas treasures and treats to give to friends!

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ideas

My children and I have debated on what to put in our gifts this year. We’ll be doing some silly Christmas-themed poems along with the gifts. I’m busy writing those right now, so I cannot share them at this moment.

Many bloggers have shared about doing a similar type of service project with their kids. Check out some of their themes by clicking on the blog name.

Doing the Twelve Days of Christmas with Young Children

I have not actually done this with my children yet, as we’ll start tomorrow. So far, though, my 9-year-old son has loved helping plan. My 4-year-old has loved helping wrap and prepare the packages.

I suspect they will need help ringing the bell and getting away quickly to not be discovered.

They are so very excited to give it a try!


In summary, here’s the scoop.

Service: Choose a friend or local family to surprise with daily gifts for 12 days. (Or, a set of 12 gifts given on one day).

Cost: Varies. From $50-$100+ depending on what gifts you would like to give to your friends.

Time investment: 20-30 minutes a day for 12 days for gift delivery, plus planning ahead. (Or, few deliveries, plus planning ahead.)

More Ideas

This post is the next in my mini-series, 5 Days of Christmas Service for a Family with Young Children. Check back tomorrow and each day this week for the rest of the series!

Get your children in the giving mood with this mini-series: 5 Days of Christmas Service for Families with Young Children

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