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12 variations for your 12 days of Christmas countdown

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One 12 Days of Christmas variation is to visit 12 Christmas attractions. One Christmas attraction in Utah is the Lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

One 12 Days of Christmas variation is to visit 12 Christmas attractions. One Christmas attraction in Utah is the Lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

Believe it or not, Christmas is precisely 12 days away. That means that even if your Christmas advent calendar isn’t off to a great start, today is the day to start again — or you can celebrate with 12 special gifts. Welcome to the 12 days of Christmas!

Here are a dozen ideas for making these last few days before Christmas just a little more merry and bright.

1. Abbreviated #LIGHTtheWORLD challenge

If your good intentions of Dec. 1 are dwindling partway through the month, today is the perfect day for new resolve. The LDS Church’s calendar of prompts even starts a new page today with “Jesus Showed Humility and So Can You.” You can do it!

2. 12 days of service

If following a set calendar isn’t for you, take the simple approach. Each day from now until Christmas, offer a small act of service you wouldn’t normally give. It’s simple, doesn’t take a lot of time, and will mean a lot to those you serve.

3. Deliver 12 neighbor gifts

Sharing the Christmas spirit means even more when you reach out to those outside your own family. Purchase or create 12 gifts for your neighbors, coworkers, teachers, the UPS man or others you see often.

4. Watch 12 Christmas movies

Sometimes there’s nothing like staying inside by the fire and watching a festive film. If you’re more of a homebody, getting in the Christmas spirit with classic films might be just the ticket.

5. Read 12 Christmas books

This is easiest if you read 12 children’s books about Christmas, but it’s theoretically possible to read 12 novels if you’re an exceptionally fast reader.

6. Write 12 letters

There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned handwritten letter. But who has time for that anymore? The Christmas season is a great time to slow down and write a letter to send in the mail — one every day until Christmas, if you’re feeling ambitious. Missionaries, military servicemen and elderly family members may especially appreciate the gesture.

7. Make 12 Christmas treats

If you like to bake, Christmas is a great excuse to make something delicious. Try one new recipe every day until Christmas. And if you don’t want to put on too much extra weight, combine this with #3 and share the love with neighbors and friends.

8. Do 12 Christmas crafts

This is especially fun if you give handmade gifts or have small children. One craft every night until Christmas can provide some excellent, heartfelt stocking stuffers.

9. Play 12 games

Give your roommates or family the gift of quality time by bringing out a different board or card game every night from now until Christmas Eve. Even if you only play for half an hour each night, that equates to six hours of distraction-free quality time. What could be better?

10. Read 12 scripture verses

This one is so simple, it takes less than a minute per day. Learn more about the Savior’s life and stay in tune with the true meaning of Christmas by opening up the Good Book every day.

11. Sing 12 Christmas songs

Music brings the Christmas spirit more quickly than almost anything else. Play and sing a song on the piano, sing it as a lullaby, or listen to Christmas music on the radio. It’s a resolution we can all stick to.

12. Visit 12 Christmas attractions

Utah is home to some fantastic festive attractions, from Luminaria to the North Pole at Seven Peaks to the Lights at Temple Square. Go see Santa Claus, see a Christmas concert — you may need to get creative to come up with a full dozen, but even a drive around the neighborhood to look at lights would be perfect.


The author of this article is one of several authors with an essay in “The Perfect Gift” — a collection of 12 essays perfect for the 12 days of Christmas. Purchase “The Perfect Gift” at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, or on Amazon.

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