12 Days of Christmas Tradition Reimagined


When I was in high school, I nannied for a woman named Annie. She absolutely loved Christmas, and the opportunity to participate in the season of giving. Every year, she asked her friends to nominate a family who needed a little extra joy during the holiday season. She would then create 12 Christmas themed packages and then call on her friends to play Santa. A few years after I moved to Rhode Island, Annie passed away from cancer. After her passing, I vowed that I would live out her tradition with my family in hopes of spreading holiday cheer and sharing the tradition with others.

This year, however I wanted to reimagine Annie’s tradition with the four lessons I have learned from 2020. First, it is important to stay connected to yourself and others that you love. Secondly, local businesses need us, and make up our community. Thirdly, self care, especially during a pandemic is vital for our mental health and the mental health of our families. Fourth, we need to create traditions even when budgets are tight. Finally we have to come together as a community and serve those that are in need.

With these lessons in mind, I have created 6 versions of the 12 days of Christmas.

  • 12 days of shopping local
  • 12 days of getting connected
  • 12 days of self care
  • 12 days of service
  • 12 days of stay home activities
  • 12 days of Christmas book magic

12 days of Shopping Local

For 12 days, I challenge you to shop local. Buy your local gifts using our Providence Mom Gift Guide or see some of the suggestions below. Now, more than ever, local business owners need our help.

12 Days of Getting Connected

Now is the time to connect with family and friends. As a bright spot during the pandemic, people have found many ways to connect with one another. During the holiday season, it is so important to be intentional about your relationships. Here are 12 ideas to stay connected.

  1. Schedule a zoom with old friends.
  2. Call a family member on your drive home.
  3. Have a candle-lit dinner with your significant other, no cell phones!
  4. Write a Christmas Letter recapping your year and email/mail to friends or family
  5. Mail a postcard to a niece or nephew
  6. Facetime with your parents
  7. Go on a walk and connect with nature
  8. Ask your child ten questions about their day
  9. Write a thank you card to someone you truly appreciate
  10. Drop off a sweet treat on your neighbor’s porch
  11. Make dinner together as a family
  12. Create a 2021 Photo Calendar, and then send to family members.

12 days of self care

If you are like me, you have been overworked since March! While balancing working from home with a toddler and going back to work during a pandemic self care is extremely important. Here are twelve ideas for making sure you make self care a priority.

  1. Spend time working on a hobby – coloring is very relaxing
  2. Take a bath with bath salts
  3. Get a massage
  4. Get a pedicure
  5. Spend time with someone you love
  6. Treat yo self to a sweet treat
  7. Meditate
  8. Write in a journal
  9. Make a list of everything you have accomplished/finished this year
  10. Create a vision board for 2021
  11. Go on a date with your spouse
  12. Listen to a podcast on your way home

12 days of service

The best way to brighten your spirits is through the act of service. While there are items on this list that require money, please remember no gesture is ever too small when in service to others!

  1. Do something for your spouse without being asked
  2. Pay for the person’s drink behind you in line
  3. Create a care package for a person in need
  4. Donate to your favorite charity
  5. Donate books to your local library
  6. Ask you child’s teacher for classroom needs and then seek donations from family and friends
  7. Send flowers to a nursing home
  8. Grab snacks for your coworkers
  9. Layout snacks for your delivery drivers
  10. Grab a box of coffee for the staff manning your child’s drop off line
  11. Tip a little extra when you pick up your take out
  12. Offer to pick up something at the store for an elderly neighbor

12 Days of Stay Home Activities

This year, our family choose to bring a little extra joy to a family with an immune compromised child. I wanted the family to have the opportunity to create Christmas memories safely, so here are twelve different activities that can be done in the safety of your own home or car.

  1. Write a note and send to a family member
  2. Curl up with some hot cocoa
  3. Create birdseed ornaments
  4. Start your morning with animal pancakes
  5. Create sugar cookies
  6. Go on a candy cane hunt
  7. Go on a Christmas lights scavenger hunt
  8. Create salt dough ornaments to capture this year
  9. Read a holiday book
  10. Watch a Christmas movie
  11. Listen to Christmas songs all day
  12. Design a gingerbread house

12 Days of Christmas Book Magic

This is my son’s first Christmas where he is truly excited for the season. Since mid November, he has wanted to read all the Christmas books before bed! So, this year, we are starting a new tradition. We have gotten him a box, similar to this one, where a Holiday themed book is placed every night. If you have multiple kids, these bags would work great too!

Here is a list of books my two year old would highly recommend. If you are on a budget, the list can also be reserved from the library, which has been how we got so many fantastic titles.

I truly hope you have found the 12 days of Christmas tradition inspiring. When I first started writing this article, I only had one idea.