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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

12 Days of Christmas :: Christmas Elves Holiday Tradition

I believe that traditions are key within a family.  Traditions help create lasting memories and help bind the family together as one.  Each holiday season with Connor has been more and more fun as we’ve been able to begin our own little family traditions.  I love this time of year!

12 Days of Christmas - Christmas Elves Holiday Tradition LOGOMy absolute favorite holiday tradition growing up was when our family would play “Christmas Elves” to another unsuspecting family during the 12 Days of Christmas.  The whole family would get in on “choosing” which family we wanted to play Elves to – location and logistics were always taken into consideration, as we wanted to ensure we could remain secret Elves for as long as possible, if not to the very end.  Sometimes we chose neighbors, sometimes fellow church members, sometimes a family we thought could use a little extra Christmas cheer.  Each night of the 12 Days of Christmas, we’d drop off a little note and an inexpensive gift that my mom had prepared.  As soon as we got home from school, all 4 of us kids were looking forward to our nightly delivery.  We tried to always keep our identity a secret, even after the final delivery – some years we were successful, some not.  While I can’t remember every family we chose each year… I remember all the FUN we had together as a family trying to pull off our sneaky little surprises!

If this is a tradition you’re interested in beginning with your family, I’ve made it super-duper simple for you with a freebie printable package

First, you’ll need to choose a special family/person to whom you want to send some holiday cheer.  Each night for the 12 Days of Christmas, plan to drop off an inexpensive gift with a fun little note to their doorstep in secret. 

The “secret” part is probably the key to the fun… maybe you want to choose a family in a location that could give you easy “getaway” access either by foot or car, or a family where you can hide nearby to see their reaction each night.  You could leave the nightly gift for them to find when they get home for the evening or even ding-dong-ditch it.  Back in the ‘80s, when my family was pulling this off year after year, we were able to make “prank” calls telling them to check their doorstep – these days, Caller ID makes that method a little more difficult!

Shopping List IMAGESecond, to pull off this fun Christmas cheer stunt, you’ll need Hello & Goodbye Messages and the 12 Daily Notes to attach to each nightly gift.  To compile the inexpensive gifts you’ll need, I’ve created an easy shopping list for you to work from.  I guesstimate that when all is said and done, this activity should only cost about $25 (or less!) in total.  That’s 12 nights of excitement, service, and mystery for your family and the family you choose for not very much money – it’s a lot of bang Christmas cheer for your buck!

It’s up to you how you want to present each gift… could be as simple as taping the note to the gift item, or maybe you’ll want to slip them into gift bags, add ribbon, etc.  Have fun with it!

Third, for those 12 nights prior to Christmas, your family will have a blast leaving these gifts in secret… you’ll plot, you’ll plan, and you’ll hope you don’t get caught!  It’s probably more fun for the giving family, than the receiving family… but can you imagine how surprised and touched your own family would be to be the recipients of the nightly surprises?  I promise this activity will add all kinds of family fun and excitement to your holiday season!

Finally, at the end of the 12 Days, on Christmas Eve, you’ll leave behind a yummy treat, and you can choose whether you want to reveal yourselves (that is, if you haven’t been caught yet!), or keep your Christmas Elves identity a secret forever.  :)

My mom stumbled across this idea decades ago, and over the years she modified it a bit (added the Hello & Goodbye Messages, etc.).  I’ve taken it a step further… I modernized the language and have packaged it all together into a colorful printables package just for you!  Be warned, the notes are “punny”, and all in line with the classic “12 Days of Christmas” carolI promise, it’s a lot of fun!  :)
The freebie printable package, with everything you’ll need, looks a little like this:

12 Days of Christmas - Christmas Elves Holiday Tradition - PACKAGE LOGO - Sprik Space 


JPG VersionFor easy printing by a photo printing service (this is my low-cost recommendation, at about $1 total, or even FREE if you find an online coupon code), 12 Days of Christmas - Day 01 (Dec 13) - Sprik Spacesimply upload these 15 images and print as 4x6 photos.  Shopping list, Hello/Goodbye Messages, and Daily Notes are all included.  Your images will be printed on heavier photo paper, and with a single cut or less they’ll be ready for gifting (trim guides stated for each image).  Click on the example image, on the right, to see what I mean.  :)

  PDF Version
For easy printing on a color printer, 8.5x11” pages, choose the PDF version.  Shopping list, Hello/Goodbye Messages, and Daily Notes are all included.  You may want to print on cardstock or mount each print on heavier paper before gifting (trim guides stated for each image).

To download the 12 Days of Christmas :: Christmas Elves Holiday Tradition package for printing, simply click on either version button above, and a new window will open to the download locations in minus.  Save the file(s) to your computer, and they’re yours!

12 Days of Christmas - Logo - Sprik Space

The 12 Days of Christmas begins on December 13th!

If you would like to blog about this free printable package, please accompany any images from my site with a credit and link back to this post. As a courtesy, please do not link directly to a downloadable file but rather to this page. Thank you!

I always love to see the creative ways you put my freebies to use.  Please be sure to send me links or pictures!  I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with them. 

This time around, I especially want to hear how your families enjoyed this fun little tradition – were you successful at not getting caught all 12 days, did you reveal yourselves at the end or keep ‘em guessing??  I can’t wait to hear!  :)


P.S.  I’ve placed a handy-dandy “Pin It” button on the bottom left for your pinning pleasure!
Pin It


CBH said...

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 7 post on Nov. 15, 2011. Thanks again.

Lauren said...

Oh my goodness. This is amazing! What a great/fun idea and you've made it so simple. Totally pinned it!

just jayma said...

This is wonderful! I have been thinking of doing something along these lines this year with my kids...this is just perfect! Thank you!

Megan @ The Crafty Conundrum said...

What an awesome idea! We might ahve to start something like this... Christmas is my favorite time of year and I am trying to get some more good traditions now that my kiddos are getting a bit older. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [16 Nov 02:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Digital Scrapbooking Made Easy said...

Love this! If you get a chance, I'd love to have you link up to my party at http://scrapbookingez.blogspot.com/2011/11/anything-goes-linky-party_10.html. Thanks for sharing!

Confessions Of A Homeschooler said...

Shared on facebook! How fun!! Erica www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com

Tracy said...

I totally love this idea!!! the 'pin it' button isn't working for me :(

{Junk in their Trunk} said...

Love love love this!! I would love for you to come link up at our link party...junkintheirtrunk.blogspot.com/2011/11/link-it-up-wednesday-3.html

Anonymous said...

What a fun idea! Just like every one else - I love it! Thanks for linking up at ECE!

marissa | Rae Gun Ramblings said...

this is such a cool idea! I'd love you to add them to my link party at http://raegunwear.blogspot.com

Roeshel said...

What a fun tradition and sweet surprise! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing!!! :)

Krista said...

Found you via I {heart} naptime. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us. Love the 12 Days of Xmas and look forward to creating this tradition with our family!

The CSI Girl said...

So unique!
I hope you will come link this up to the CSI Project. The challenge this week is Advent Calendars. You could take home the top prize or the great giveaway. Come over all week for tutorials and enter the FB giveaway!

Vicky @ Mess For Less said...

What a super idea! I am pinning this as I can't wait to do when the kids get older. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tradition. I am a new follower from Making the World Cuter.Vicky from Mess For Less

Unknown said...

Love your post.
I would love for your to share this at my Christmas traditions link party and giveaway.

moonsword said...

Thank you so much for sharing...what a fun family tradition!

Tracey @ My House of Giggles said...

This is SUCh a fun idea!! Thanks for creating the amazing printables, and making it so easy for the rest of us to pull off!! ;)

Heather said...

This is such a fun idea!
Is there another option for getting your files? I don't want to download the 4shared program?! =)

Anonymous said...

I feel so stupid. I don't even know how to leave a comment let alone make my own cute printables. So thank you. I want to adjust day 10 so it's more "useable" to something that might belong in a first aid kit (ie: bandaids and kisses (chocolate of couse) or a small first aid kit if I could find one not too pricey. Can you help me do this? Your file isn't editable and like I said I'm pretty "dumb" when it comes to stuff like this. My email is dicksonfamily@hotmail.com. Thanks.

Koogle said...

What a wonderful tradition! I'd love to try it this year.
Thanks for sharing your printables. :)

Ladybird Ln said...

THis is a wonderful tradition, our family did this for the first time last year and it was a big hit, your printables made it so easy! The only one we changed is day 10 to say 'On the tenth day of Christmas the Christmas Elves gave to a pair of warm socks from the Lords who Leapt all night"

Anyway we are printing them out again this year, and we are so excited.


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