12 Days of Giving

This year my husband and I want to help our kids think about giving, and helping those around them.  We want to have an others-centered Christmas and try to avoid the more consumeristic side of the season.  This can be a challenge with little ones, so to help us think about how we can give, instead of receive and put this into practice, we planned a giving experience the whole family can do together for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.   We hope this will help set the tone for focusing on others.

I’m sure you have seen all the advent calendar activities buzzing around, I absolutely love them!  My favorite is the reverse advent calendar, collecting an item each day for a local charity.  However, if you are anything like me, you can be slightly behind the eight ball, and may have missed Dec 1st by a long shot!  In the past, I used to do the 12 days of Christmas with my husband, giving him a little gift each day until Christmas.  This is along the same idea.  It’s an advent experience, focusing on others,  and giving of yourself.  The 12 Days of Giving – each day is a small task or experience you can do with your family to help keep the focus on others.  It’s a great reminder for us as parents, and for our kids that this season is for giving, kindness, and helping others.

This project is very simple and will take you about 15-2o minutes to complete.


Here’s what you need to make one of your own:

1 bottom of a large gift box

12 Coordinating gift tags. Pick a theme or colour.  There are some great options here on Amazon – Christmas Gift Tag.    I found these pretty ones at Winners.

Washi tape in a colour that coordinates with your gift tags.  I found the gold washi tape at my local dollar store. You can find it on Amazon as well – Gold Washi Tape

Step 1:

Pick 12 gift tags, in alternating patterns or colours.  Place them on a surface and arrange them where you’d like them to hang on the calendar.7

Step 2:

Take your washi tape, and put one strand across the top of the gift box.  I went from one side, across the opening of the box, to the other side.  Now meausure with your gift tags the height you need, and place another strand across. Do this one more time, to fit 4 gift tags on each level of tape.


Step 3

Decide on what 12 giving experiences you would like your family to do together to focus on others.  Here’s a list of suggestions, pick 12 that fit your family best, and you know you can accomplish together:

  • Donate to a local food drive
  • Make Christmas cards for someone who needs cheer
  • Donate a new toy to children in need
  • Visit a nursing home or a senior who may be lonely
  • Bake cookies for a neighbour
  • Pick-up garbage or clean up a park in your neighbourhood
  • Call someone to tell them you love them
  • Make a meal together for some who is ill or needs help2
  • Give away used toys to a local charity
  • Shovel snow or help a neighbour in some way
  • Talk about local charities and what they do in your community – then donate to one
  • Let someone else go first in something you do today, and share your stories at the end of the day.
  • Donate hats and mittens to a local shelter
  • Donate winter clothing that you don’t use to someone in need
  • Buy a gift card to a local restaurant and give it to someone who needs a warm meal
  • Shop together to buy a Christmas dinner for a family in need
  • Buy a gift for someone who doesn’t have family nearby
  • Pack a bag with toiletries and essentials and either donate it or give it to someone you see who could use it.
  • Do something thoughtful for someone else in your family
  • Make a bird feeder and hang it in your backyard or local park
  • Volunteer together at a local charity
  • Plan a random act of kindness together (pay for someone’s coffee or parking)
  • Hold the door for someone
  • Do a chore for someone else in your family
  • Buy a book and donate it to your local library


Step 4:

Take 12 tags you set aside, and flip them around.  On the back,write out one giving experience on each.


Step 5:

Simply place the gift tags printed side out on the washi tape.  If the tag doesn’t hold, you may need to put an additional small piece of tape on the back to hold it in place.

Step 6:

Take one down each day and do the experience together with your family or friends.  Now place the calendar in a common area and get your giving on!


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2 Comment

  1. Debbie says: Reply

    I love this idea for families. Great blog!

    1. stephanie prendergast says: Reply

      Thanks Debbie! And thank you for reading!

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