12 Days of Christmas

Posted: July 14, 2011 in Love and Marriage
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Almost every year, for the last fourteen that is, my wife and I have kept up our own celebration of the twelve days of Christmas.  Now, I know that the interpretations of when those twelve days are varies widely.  I also know that what we do is our own tradition, born out of love and romance, so it doesn’t have to agree with anyone else’s philosophy or ideals.

I’m not really sure how it started.  I have memories of it going way back to the very early years of our marriage.  I’m sure it was my wife’s idea.  I just don’t remember how it actually came into being.  It’s just something that is unique to us as a couple, and last Christmas, it needed some restoration.

We count back twelve days from Christmas, which makes December 13 our first day of Christmas.  On December 13, I give my wife one gift.  On December 14, I give her two of something, three of another thing the next day, and so on.  No turtle doves, pipers piping, or lords a leaping, and no repeating of the gifts day after day as in the song.  Just gifts of any sort that somehow match the number of the day, one through twelve.

Some of the days are extraordinarily easy.  Day one can be anything, of course, and so I only have to decide whether to make it something big, or something simple.  If there is to be an expensive gift in the twelve days, day one is very likely where it will be found.  Other years, it’s as simple as a single rose.  Day two can be earrings, again if there is to be a more expensive or fancy gift as part of the twelve days.

In years where the budget was especially tight, or I was working two jobs, the twelve days could sometimes be a bit stressful.  What I didn’t understand then was that the value of the gift was totally irrelevant to my wife.  She was just as happy with five pieces of candy as she would have been with five golden rings.  She wasn’t expecting me to spend hours searching for the perfect thing or spend a lot of money.  Her love language is gifts, and she just wanted me to be thinking of her and surprising her with whatever I would come home with.

Most years, it was fun, although some days were a challenge.  There aren’t many things you can buy in packages of eleven, for example.  I would have to get creative and do things like eleven ounces of something, or pick out nine individual items of things that went together.  For some of these, I would write out coupons that she could redeem for back rubs and so forth.  I also bought calendars, memberships, and/or subscriptions for day twelve (12 months),

In 2009, my wife said she wasn’t expecting me to do the twelve days of Christmas if I didn’t want to. I didn’t, and I think it was only the second year that we ever skipped it.  As I’ve mentioned before, the lack of really celebrating Christmas that year was what helped convince my wife that I no longer loved her and that our marriage was coming to a close. That wasn’t exactly the case – I was just confused and didn’t know what to do – but she had seen her parents divorce after a difficult Christmas and saw this as the writing on the wall.

Last year, I couldn’t wait for December 13, so I could start the days of Christmas.  Since it was the year of the restoration tour, I wanted it to be the best ever and it was.  I could tell that God was in it, too, because it was so easy to find all the gifts. Not only that, but it seemed that every one of my ideas worked out and I was always in the right place at the right time.  It wasn’t stressful at all, and was actually the most fun I’ve ever had with it.

I was able to get some great surprises worked in, like eight ounces of her favorite lotion, when she never even knew I had been to the store where they sell it.  She loves food and sweets, and I actually found nine, ten, and eleven in food items that she wasn’t even aware of.  I didn’t have to spend a lot of money, and I understood that this was all about speaking her love language, not trying to impress anyone or choose gifts of a certain monetary value.

By doing it the way we do, the twelfth day is actually Christmas Eve.  Then the next day, she gets all of her regular Christmas gifts, not only from me, but from the rest of the family.  She gets to tell everyone all about what she’s been getting all during the twelve days, which is also part of what makes it fun for her.  I get to be the romantic hero, and it’s really pretty easy, especially when I have someone that’s so easy to love.


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