Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas

One of my fondest memories passed on to my sister and I from our mother was the idea of blessing someone with Twelve Days of Christmas packages or gifts beginning on December 14th and ending on December 25th. Eleven small gifts wrapped and placed in a decorative gift basket or other festive container allowed the recipient nearly two weeks of surprises to unwrap before and leading up to a final and perhaps more meaningful or costly gift on Christmas Day.

I can only assume this idea found its origin in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas which is one of the most recorded Christmas songs in history. As I researched the history of this song, I learned there have long been discrepancies in the meanings of the verses. I even discovered on Snopes that some once believed there were hidden meanings of faith buried in the words of this song now enjoyed by children and adults alike every Christmas season. It is believed this song grew out of the practice of celebrating the Twelve Nights of Christmas.

The history of the Twelve Nights of Christmas actually represent the twelve days between December 25th and January 6th or the day of Epiphany and the baptism of Jesus. This of course means the twelfth night would be on January 5th. Whether one chooses to see the possibility of hidden faith messages within the Twelve Days of Christmas song or simply finds it fun to accept the challenge of memorizing the lyrics, of one thing I am certain, any individual would enjoy the excitement of receiving twelve individual gifts from someone who loves and cares for them. It is particularly special for an elderly person or someone who needs encouragement and hope at the holidays.

Gifts do not need to be chosen for their monetary value but rather it's about giving multiple gifts that will brighten a loved ones days or nights as the holidays are approaching. Ideas for a Twelve Days of Christmas gift basket include but are not limited to gifts of necessities like toiletries for the elderly or small toys, books or games for children, baked items or gifts with sentimental value such as photographs or homemade crafted items that will become treasured memories for years to come.

As the Twelve Days preceding Christmas approaches, perhaps you will think of someone who is in need of encouragement and the blessed hope Christ brought to each of us. I hope you will make this idea your own this Christmas and get as creative as you like with the possibilities. Perhaps you might email a favorite scripture each day for twelve days or divide your twelve gifts between twelve persons who need a pick me up this holiday season. However and to whomever you decide to share gifts of love this Christmas, may you spread the true love of Christ with someone who will be blessed to know you found a dozen ways to bless them this year.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …

If you are looking for a simple recipe for sharing in a Twelve Days of Christmas basket, perhaps you'd like to try this recipe for my grandmother's angel biscuits. Enjoy some photos of my little angel kneading the dough and helping make her first biscuits. These can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Just take out as much dough as you need.


5 cups self rising flour (sifted)

¼ cup sugar

¾ cup shortening

2 TBS. Yeast dissolved in 2 TBS. Warm water

1 cup buttermilk

After flour is sifted, add sugar and cut in shortening. Add yeast and buttermilk. ( You can substitute 1 cup sweet milk with 1 TBS vinegar for buttermilk)

Knead and refrigerate

Make out as biscuits and do not allow to rise before baking

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes

A cross between a biscuit and a yeast roll, these are best if warmed with a pad of butter and dollop of jam or honey sandwiched in the middle.


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