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10 Ways To Have The Best 12 Days Of Christmas Ever

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
Something fun every night!

There are a million different ways to countdown to Christmas with your family. Advent calendars and Elf on the Shelf are incredibly popular these days, but I’ve always been a fan of doing the “12 Days of Christmas.” The idea is simple enough – do some sort of Christmas-y activity as a family every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

I find that 12 days works well for my family. It’s enough time that we really get into the Christmas spirit, but not long enough that we get bored, or can’t think up enough ideas.

There are no rules when it comes to celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas, but it can be fun (and helpful) to decide on an overall “theme.” I would not recommend attempting to stay true to the 12 Days of Christmas song – you’ll just end up with a very noisy house full of birds.

There are, however, plenty of other bird-less ways to celebrate! Here are 10 different ways you can celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas with your family this year.

Jillee Bean Sale

1. Children’s Books

If you have small kids, read a children’s books each night together as a family. They can be Christmas-themed books, or just books that have a good message.

I may be partial, but I think “Jillee Bean and the One Good Thing” would be a perfect book to read together during the holidays. The artwork, done by my talented friend Samantha Hollister, is gorgeous. But what I love most about this book is its sweet and simple message – that small acts of service can have a very big impact!

So many parents have raved about how much their child loves Jillee!

I have received countless emails, photos, videos, etc from people who have bought the book sharing how much their kids LOVE it and how they want to read it every day, at least once a day! ;-) So be forewarned! lol.

It’s sure to become an instant favorite and to make you look very good in the process. AND….starting today, you can get it for the sale price of $14.98 + Free Shipping (Regularly $19.98) CLICK HERE to purchase before the price goes up.

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
Elf for the win at our house!

2. Christmas Movies

Gather the family around the TV to watch a Christmas movie each night. I know that at our house, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one viewing of Elf, starring Will Ferrell! (And any family member who misses our annual Elf screening is a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.)

And if you don’t own enough Christmas movies for all 12 Days of Christmas, just check your TV listings! There are multiple different Christmas movies being played every day on many channels, so it’s not too hard to find one you’d like to watch.

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
My Mom’s Famous Sour Cream Cookies!

3. Holiday Recipes

Whip up a favorite holiday recipe every day with your family. Make your favorite holiday roast for dinner one night, a batch of crockpot hot chocolate the next day, and a batch of sour cream cookies for the neighbors the day after that. The possibilities are endless!

(I mention making treats for the neighbors just to point out that you don’t have to pig out on Christmas treats for all 12 Days of Christmas. Though if you do end up doing that… there’s certainly no judgment here!) ;-)

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
I love the laughter that always results when our family plays games together!

4. Games

Every night, pick a board or card game to play with your family. Don’t own many games? Check your local game store! Many game stores have collections of board and card games that you can check-out for about the same price as a Redbox rental. (Some libraries also have this service.)

We love playing board games together as a family! My daughter Britta and her husband Neil have quite the collection of games, and they usually bring one or two of them when they visit on holidays. If you’re looking for recommendations, some of our favorite games to play are Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, and Skull.

5. Service

Do an act of service each day as a family for the 12 Days of Christmas. For ideas, check out my post about making a holiday service jar.

Read More: 25 Days Of Service Jar! Make The Holiday’s More Meaningful!

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
Don’t forget there are plenty of crafts for grownups too!

6. Crafts

Work on a holiday craft together each day. You might work on a quilt, a photo album, or some other large project over several days, or you could make one small craft each day. Head to Pinterest for more holiday craft inspiration than you can handle!

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
The Carpenter’s Christmas album is another favorite!

7. Holiday Music

Enjoy a bit of Christmas music each day! If your family is musically-inclined, you sing or play a Christmas song together, or visit a neighbor for some good old-fashioned caroling. If you’re not so musically gifted, maybe just put on your favorite Christmas album. ;-)

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
These gifts are as fun to make as they are to give.

8. Homemade Gifts

Work together to create, wrap, and deliver homemade gifts for your friends and neighbors. I LOVE handmade gifts, and have posted dozens and dozens of handmade gift ideas here on the blog over the years.

Read More: Simple Handmade Gifts Round-Up!

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
Some of our favorite Christmas tree ornaments are ones the kids made when they were little!

9. Christmas Ornaments

Add a different Christmas ornament to your tree each night. These could be store-bought ornaments that have a special meaning to you, or you could get crafty and make your own!

12 Days of Christmas Ideas
We all need reminders about the reason for the season!

10. Readings and Discussions

Read a scripture passage, book excerpt, or poem together every day, and have a short family discussion about it. This is a great way to spend time together, and to remember the real spirit of Christmas.

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I just wanted to mention that “The 12 Days of Christmas” refers to the true Christmas season which begins December 25 and ends on Epiphany, January 6.

    Maybe counting 12 days in front of Christmas should more accurately be called 12 days leading up to Christmas.

    Keep up with your creative ideas!

  • Yes, I agree with Nancy and Carmen. The 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day with the birth of Jesus and ends on January 6th when the Wise Men showed up bearing gifts. I also grew up in an Italian family but I think other parts of Europe also start their Christmas celebration on Christmas Day and exchange gifts on January 6th which is sometimes called Little Christmas.
    Jillee, thank you for the recipes. They sound great. I am going to try them!

  • Although I have no children in my home any longer, I remember doing a number of these things with my family while I was at home. We used to tease my mother about wearing out the albums of Christmas music she played! Due to school being in session, we weren’t able to do very much as a family until the last week or so but, it was so nice. Thank you for the memories, Jillee.

  • The “real” Twelve Days of Christmas are NOT moveable, it’s a specific time: Christmas Day itself ushers in twelve days of celebration, ending only on January 6 with the feast of the Epiphany. They don’t end at Christmas Day, that’s when they start …

    • I was about to say the same thing. Christmas “season” begins with Christmas day. Right now we are in Advent — I have no problem with doing these things as part of Advent to await Christmas day, but I wouldn’t call them the 12 days of Christmas activities.
      I always wait until the last few days before Christmas day to decorate, but it’s getting harder and harder to find a real (decent) tree that close to Christmas!

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