Blessed by Christmas Service
A few years ago we were the blessed recipients of an elaborate Christmas service project. An anonymous friend started leaving fun gifts on our doorstep. Every day, at a different time, someone would quietly place the gift on our doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away. At first we tried to catch them in the act, but then we decided to let them get away with it because their first note said they would reveal who they were on the twelfth day.
They called us “true friends” in the notes they left. A play on words with the song “The 12 days of Christmas” where it says “my true love gave to me”. They shared their favorite things about Christmas with us. On the last day they showed up with a huge gingerbread house with several personalized touches. It was truly beautiful. It is one of our favorite Christmas memories.
A New Christmas Tradition in Born
Now we try to share this tradition with other families we love and want to know better. It is so much fun putting together the crafts and treats, planning out how to deliver our gifts safely and stay anonymous. Ding Dong Ditch is always our favorite plan. Kids love sneaking around and trying to secretly deliver these gifts each day. At the end of the project we feel a lot closer to the family we chose to serve.
How to start your own Christmas Service Tradition
If you want to have your own 12 days of Christmas service tradition, just mark December 13th on your calendar as the starting point. If you start on the 13th, the twelve days will end on December 24th. We choose these days normally so we don’t interrupt Christmas day.
In order to execute this fun family service, we hold a special family home evening to discuss the family we want to serve. We also talk about the different gifts we want to leave and any items we need to buy to make it happen. As part of the activity for family home evening, we make some of the crafts for the project.
Plan ahead and be sure the family won’t go anywhere for Christmas. Sometimes it is possible to alter your plans by a few days if they will be travelling. You may also need to get creative so the family doesn’t throw out food items because they do not trust your treats are safe to eat. Consider mentioning a mutual friend who can verify good intentions, but won’t reveal your identity.
There are lots of factors to consider when planning for this project. You probably don’t want to go by the home at the same time everyday. You definitely don’t want to scare anyone. We know at least one friend surprised to have a weapon pointed at them by a terrified homeowner because they were trying to be too sneaky.
Include fun notes with your twelve days of Christmas Service
Here are the notes we usually include in this tradition.
For the first day, we leave this note: “On the first day of Christmas your true friends gave to you, __________________. Each day we will bring you something new and on Christmas Eve we will reveal who we are. Enjoy!”
For every other day, we leave a note with the same pattern: “On the ________ day of Christmas your true friends gave to you, _________________.”
On the 10th day, we usually offer a time we will stop by on the twelfth day and ask them to leave a note if there is a better time for them.
On the 12th day of Christmas we bring a treat and sing Christmas carols to our friends.
Here are some of the gift ideas we’ve used for this tradition. Some of the ideas include links to share recipes or craft ideas associated with the gifts. What is great about each day is that they are totally interchangeable. Here is a list of fun and easy things to make and do:
- a Christmas lesson for your Family.
- 2 plates of Reindeer Cookies
- 3 loaves of bread
- 4 reindeer kisses
- 5 nativity ornaments
- 6 root beer reindeer
- 7 pieces of pretzel bark
- 8 cookie cutters (and cookie dough mix)
- 9 lemon bars
- 10 peanut butter frosted rice crispy treats
- 11 hot cocoa treats
- Food, crafts, activities, games, recipes with ingredients, gift cards
- Christmas movies, books, songs, quotes
- FHE lessons, pictures, ornaments
- Nativity set given one piece at a time
Other Great Christmas Service Ideas
As a final note, we’ve shared the way we learned this tradition, but since we’ve started, we’ve heard of other great variations too. One variation we really liked and will explore in the future is to support a family in need and try to stay anonymous at the end. With the help of a bishop or other local leaders, find a family who is having a hard time financially. Over the course of twelve days, there are many things you can drop off. Consider a Christmas Tree, bulk food items feeding the family for several days, and on the twelfth day you can drop of presents for kids.
What about your ideas? We’d love to hear about more ideas and variations of Christmas Service. Share them in the comments below.