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12 Days of Christmas


When I was growing up, my mother had this Christmas tradition of putting up our tree on Christmas Eve. Every other family in the world had their tree up way before Christmas, and there we were... waiting. No matter how much we begged and pleaded, our tree went up every year without fail, on Christmas Eve. Was this tradition based on the price of trees the day before the holiday? My adult and bill-paying mind thinks so. Either way, year after year, all of the magic happened on Christmas Eve. And to this day, Christmas Eve is still my favorite day of the year. Traditions.


Now… the absolute and very first tradition I canned as a mother was that nonsense Christmas Eve tradition. I’m traumatized. Just leave the tree up year-round, please and thank you.


With having a large family, naturally, we have developed our own Christmas traditions. Our absolute favorite, time after time, is our 12 Days of Christmas tradition. 12 Days of Christmas started out as a fun kiddie countdown when the boys were younger. We would countdown the last 12 days before Christmas together, making each day special by doing some sort of family activity together. We’d see a show, go out to eat, color, sing songs, or drive around looking at lights. No matter if there was money in the pot or if the pot was completely dry, we made a list (that was referred to more like a contract), and we all did something together, everyday. The kids, excited and anticipating Santa, really looked forward to these activities… even more than the gifts, I felt.

Quite some years have passed, and I’m telling you… this tradition is still a Jacobs Family Holiday Staple that is taken very seriously. This year, planning for the 12 Days of Christmas was a full corporation meeting with negotiations. We all sat down around the table, and I pulled the large calendar off the wall. As I cross-checked with my phone calendar, I referenced wrestling meets, weigh ins, and work schedules. A democracy was established, and all voting members had a say. (Davis was an automatic extra vote for me.) We agreed to activities, on designated days, and all were pleased. Even though the kids have gotten older, it still surprises me how much they look forward to our 12 Days of Christmas.


This holiday season, we’ve sang songs, played Uno, baked cookies, wrestled, watched a movie, and had hot cocoa night. We’re a close knit family of eight who should be doing these things together on a regular, but life constantly pulls us in many directions. For these 12 days leading up to Christmas, we get competitive, we laugh hysterically, we poke fun at each other, and we plant the seeds that will blossom into “inside jokes” that will be discussed throughout the years. And as the story transforms, and the victor is changed, because the circumstances are cloudy, and nothing is the same... one thing will be invariable.


When I was growing up, my mother had this Christmas tradition…

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