Unique and Considerate Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas – Historic Prints
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Unique and Considerate Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas


"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one of the most popular holiday songs, and many of us know it by heart. Each verse provides a new challenge and creative way to celebrate Christmas and offers a unique gift idea during the holiday season. While it is one of the most festive Christmas carols, it can also be the perfect theme for a holiday gift exchange in the office or a way to create a new holiday tradition with family and friends.

Because of the song's rich history and distinct gift ideas give everyone a way to find a new gift idea ranging from thoughtful homemade items to considerate items that are sure to be cherished for years.

While some like to make a 12 Days of Christmas list, others prefer to come up with unique Christmas gift ideas that are sure to surprise and delight the recipient.

History of The 12 Days of Christmas

While most of us in the United States think the Christmas season kicks off on the day following Thanksgiving, in traditional Christian theology Christmas Day marks the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas. December 25 marks the official start of the 12 days of Christmas following the conclusion of the period referred to as the Advent, or the four weeks preceding Christmas Eve.

The 12 days of Christmas marks the period from the birth of Christ through the coming of the Magi, also known as the three wise men. This period closes on January 6, which is also commonly called the Epiphany and Three Kings Day.

Traditional celebrations hold gift exchanges for each day following the conclusion of Christmas Day, and "The 12 Days of Christmas," song details what would have historically been given to acknowledge a wish of goodwill for the upcoming twelve months. Contemporary celebrations include lighting a candle to celebrate each day, as well as lighting a yule log on Christmas Eve and burning it slowly over the course of the 12 days. Some families also commemorate the first and last days of the 12 Days of Christmas by exchanging gifts on the 25th and 5th of January.

The Twelfth night to the morning of the Epiphany is traditionally when decorations, including Christmas trees, are taken down, and the holiday season concludes. These traditions are common across Western Europe and the United States though, in modern times, many celebrants mark the end of the holiday season with a New Year's Eve party that counts down the mark of a new calendar year on January 1.

The Iconic Song

As the holiday season approaches, you may begin to start noticing "The 12 Days of Christmas" being played on the radio or in stores as you begin shopping for gifts for your friends and family. This iconic song remains an enduring link to the history of Christmas and has been part of traditional celebrations since the eighteenth century. The history of the song is unclear, though the modern rendition is attributed to English folk composer Frederic Austin who wrote his version in 1909.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is a cumulative song, meaning each verse builds upon the previous verse, and it remains one of the most popular Christmas carols.

Giving Thoughtful and Traditional Gifts

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

The first gift mentioned in the 12 Days of Christmas is the partridge in a pear tree, which is immediately recognizable, although perhaps not an ideal gift. Many of the gifts associated with the 12 Days of Christmas are food related, and this first gift can allow the giver to get creative with a culinary delight. For this gift, you can bake a thoughtful dish that features pears as the main ingredient, or if you're feeling especially ambitious and gifting to someone with a green thumb, you can find a pear tree at a local nursery.

Two Turtle Doves

Giving someone a duo of doves may not make a great gift, but gifting a box of Turtles chocolates is sure to delight the recipient. This popular combination of pecans, chocolate, and caramel has been a favorite since 1918 and is a great way to link the holidays and the past together.

If the recipient doesn't enjoy sweet treats, consider a thoughtful art print that features doves or maybe some dove Christmas tree ornaments. This is one of the most popular lines of the song and started the cascade of gifts accumulating with each respective verse.

Three French Hens

Celebrate anything French on the third day, which can include a bottle of French wine or a copy of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Or, if you love to cook, consider making your family or friends a classic French chicken soup or stew to help keep them warm during the colder months.

You can also find a cute hen-themed Christmas card and give them a gift certificate to your favorite French bistro.

Four Calling Birds

While this may seem like one of the more obscure subjects of "The 12 Days of Christmas," it offers an excellent opportunity to get creative with your gift. Consider a bird feeder stocked with seed or even a small pair of binoculars paired with a book about bird watching or birds that are native to your location.

You can even make a play on the "calling" aspect and give a hand-decorated phone case.

Five Golden Rings

Most gift exchanges have limits that might restrict actually gifting five golden rings, so explore another option like golden-colored napkin rings. You can also give your friends or family a ring dish to keep their jewelry organized or even five homemade apple cider donuts that are not only seasonal but delicious.

Six Geese a Laying

To keep in the spirit of the sixth verse, choose a gift that incorporates eggs. Consider making a large batch of eggnog or maybe explore cookbooks that are focused on eggs and the wide variety of preparations for them.

You can also find Goose-themed potholders or mugs that are useful around the kitchen and ideal for serving delicious beverages.

Seven Swans a Swimming

Swans have a certain elegance and serenity, and you can explore gift options that convey this sense of peace and tranquility. A spa basket with thoughtful bath soaps or other self-care products can make the ideal gift this Christmas season.

Eight Maids a Milking

Consider a homemade hot chocolate recipe with dairy from a local farm for the eight-day of Christmas. Or maybe local ice cream from an artisan producer will brighten the Christmas season with your recipient's favorite flavor delivered to their door.

Nine Ladies Dancing

This verse allows for another level of creativity and fun as revelers can dance together to their favorite holiday songs, "The 12 Days of Christmas," included.

Consider giving a dancing lesson or tickets to a live performance of a holiday ballet classic like The Nutcracker. Perhaps a portable Bluetooth speaker for streaming their favorite artists will make the perfect Christmas gift this year.

Ten Lords a Leaping

Get creative with the tenth verse and encourage your friends and family to get active with a jump rope. This can be a simple DIY craft that brings the whole group together, or you can find a classic option that links the recipient to the past.

Eleven Pipers Piping

Make a playful twist on 'piping' with this gift, and give your family or friends a baking set with a full set of piping bags and decorating tips. This can make the holiday season and the rest of the year more fun by decorating your favorite baked goods with holiday themes.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

Make a bang on the last of the twelve days of Christmas with a drum-themed gift. This can be a thoughtful Christmas tree ornament or, depending on who is receiving the present, a one-time drum lesson that can inspire creativity and expression.

Gifting Vintage Decorative Items

If you're looking to find a gift that is truly unique, consider exploring options like a vintage wall art that is sure to enhance any space. Finding vintage art prints from their favorite artists, or maybe a vintage map of their hometown can be the ideal gift for your loved ones this Christmas.

A wall art print also makes a thoughtful Christmas gift that will remind the recipient every time they view it and make an impression that will last for years.

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From the Historic Prints family, Merry Christmas to you and your family. Make the most of the Christmas Spirit this season with a 12 Days of Christmas-themed party or gift exchange!

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