by Cindy Leyland – Published by ProHealth

Twenty-five years ago, I was a new single mom, with a ten-year old daughter and thirteen-year old son. Fear and uncertainty lurked around every corner. Money was tight. What would I do about Christmas?

An acquaintance told me about his Christmas tradition with a good friend – they celebrated the Twelve Days of Christmas by sharing small gifts each of the 12 days up to the Epiphany. We had always opened a gift on Christmas Eve – new pajamas so we’d all look good in the Christmas pictures – and I wondered if the kids received a small gift each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas, maybe Christmas morning with just a few gifts to open wouldn’t seem so bad.

Our Twelve Days of Christmas tradition was born. Kimberly loved bubble gum, so one of her gifts was a full sleeve of Rain-Blo bubble gum. She also loved black olives; another gift was a can of black olives all to herself. Andy liked Keebler Sweet Spot cookies; one night his gift was a full package of them. Baseball cards were a hit that year too. We made a production each evening of opening the gifts and celebrating together. They both opened their new pajamas Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning wasn’t nearly as bleak as I had imagined it might be. I think my total Christmas budget that year was less than $100.