How does the 12 days of Christmas gift giving work?
We all remember that one gift that touched our hearts deeply. For me, that’s the 12 days of Christmas gifts.
In 2009, we spent months worrying about the declining health of my husband, with no answers from doctors. Finally, at the Mayo Clinic, they diagnosed him with Crohn’s Disease and operated on him. On that same day in November, my dad had surgery due to cancer. It had been a tough year.
That December, we received a box of wrapped gifts at our doorstep. Twelve years later and I still have no idea who gave them to us.
But I know this: the unique, inexpensive gift gave us immeasurable joy that year. The kind of uplifting a person’s soul needs from time to time. And gosh, it brings tears to my eyes yet today.
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The year after, we dropped off a similar version of this gift to a couple enduring failed fertility treatments. Again, the delight we felt in giving the gift was too much to measure.
And both are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The 12 Days of Christmas Gifts Meaning
If you didn’t know, this present is a collection of gift ideas from the 12 days of Christmas song. It can be given to someone anonymously or as a regular gift for the year. Recipients unwrap one gift a day until the song is done.
The present is great for anyone that needs their spirits lifted. However, it’s also perfect for the person in your life that you don’t know what to buy for. Or anyone you want to give extra love to!
Below, are 12 days of Christmas gift ideas for every price range, so spend as little or as much as you want. Additionally, you can stick to the number of items that correspond with the song, or just do one each day. It’s completely up to you!
Places to Find Gift Items
I give you super easy Amazon ideas throughout this post, but Walmart, Target, and the Dollar Store are also GREAT places to find fun items! Then, check out alternative ideas and methods of delivery at the end of the article!
Easy 12 Days of Christmas Gift Ideas (That Go With the Song)
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree”
Stick with pears or a family tree theme for the first gift!
- A basket of pears and fruit
- A can of pears
- A homemade pear dessert like this fresh pear cobbler
- A jar of pear preserves
- Sparkling pear cider
- A bag of jelly belly pear jelly beans
- A fresh pear pie
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Two turtle doves…
On the second day, explore dove or turtle items – or both for your gift!
- Dove chocolates
“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Three French hens….”
Like the others, there are several themes to day three. Think France, chickens, or hens!
- Cans of Chicken Soup
- Homemade roasted chicken dinner
- A gift card to a local French restaurant
“On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Four calling birds…”
On day four, go all out with bird items or stick to a simple cell phone “calling” gift.
“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Five gold rings…”
This is the easiest day for gift ideas! So many things come in a ring shape!
- Butterscotch lifesavers
- Pork rinds
- Glazed donuts
- Lord of the Rings themed anything
- The New Ring Chime that connects all of your existing ring alarms and cameras
*If you’re loving the countdown idea, check out
- The 12 days of Christmas self-care to take great care of yourself this year!
- The Ultimate New Mommy Gift Basket (12 days of loving gifts for mama)
“On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Six geese a laying, …”
For these 12 days of Christmas gift ideas, go all in on eggs, or hone in on a great goose item.
- Mini bottles or one regular bottle of Grey Goose
- Chocolate cream-filled eggs
- The Egg Cookbook or 6 eggs with omelet ingredients
- The Serious Goose book by Jimmy Kimmel
- Talk to me Goose shirt (Top Gun movie reference)
- Donate a flock of geese to feed a family in their name
“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Seven swans a swimming…”
Swan items aren’t easy to find, but you can also explore anything that has to do with swimming for this day’s theme!
- Black Swan on Blu-ray
- Inflatable swan for the pool or bathtub
“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Eight maids a milking…”
Cleaning and milk have nothing to do with each other, but apart they make great gifts for day eight!
- Fancy coffee creamer
- Certificate for an after-holiday cleaning service
- Gourmet cheese basket
- A small carton of milk with travel-sized cereal
“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Nine ladies dancing…”
Dance, dance, dance! There’s only one theme for this day, so make it fun!
- A new Christmas CD for dancing
- A Christmas music playlist
- Certificate for dance classes
- Tickets to a dance performance like the Nutcracker Ballet
“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Ten lords a leaping…”
Go with “leaping” or “Lords” for an interesting day ten gift!
- A crown for the Lord or Lady
- A small rebounder trampoline (or gift certificate to a trampoline place)
- Lord of the Rings DVDs or memorabilia
- A shirt with the word “Lord,” a manger, or another religious item.
“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Eleven pipers piping…”
Next, day eight needs some pipes or something that’s piping hot!
- A bagpipe CD
- Pipe cleaners (used for crafting)
- Toy bagpipes
“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Twelve drummers drumming…”
And finally, have some fun with drums for the last day!
- A drum cookie tin filled with cookies or popcorn
- Ice cream drumsticks
- Fried or grilled chicken drumsticks
- Tickets to Stomp or a live band
- Personalized drumsticks (great for someone to actually drum with!)
- Mix Sticks Drumsticks Spoons for cooking
Find other unique gift ideas with the BIG list of non-toy gift ideas for kids!
BONUS: We received The Three Trees in our 12 days of Christmas gift years ago. I STILL read it every year to my kids. But I can't remember what day it was in!
Alternative 12 Days of Christmas Ideas List
If sticking with the theme for your 12 days of Christmas gifts is intimidating, or you think your recipient won’t enjoy all the gifts, no worries! You can always do a small gift that has nothing to do with the song! After all, it’s your gift. You get to decide how it’s done.
Here are some non-theme gifts for the twelve days of Christmas:
Day 2 – Two: socks, facial masks, bags of coffee, chapsticks, earrings, small books, gloves
Day 3 – Three: granola bars, bags of popcorn, succulents, pairs of underwear
Day 4 – Four: bath bombs, fancy cheeses, love notes, small tools
Day 5 – Five: A $5 gift card, mini art notes, mini candy bars
Day 6 – Six: nice pens, bath supplies, bottles of their favorite soda or beer
Day 8 – Eight: homemade treats, glow sticks, coasters
Day 9 – Nine: fancy olives, photos to frame, affirmation cards
Day 10 – Ten: stickers, cookies in a tin, reasons I love you
Day 11 – Eleven: tea bags, pieces of gum, fun paper straws, batteries
Day 12 – Twelve: pieces of chocolate, mints, nuts in a bag, cupcake wrappers (with a few baking ingredients)
All of these gift ideas for family and friends are low-cost or cost nothing at all! It’s the thought that counts!
*Another great gift idea: The Christmas Eve box for kids, teenagers, and adults
How to Label Your Gift
Mark each gift with the number. Or use this unique 12 days of Christmas puzzle and have your recipient put the puzzle together as the days go by.
How to Deliver the Gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas
Now, there are two different ways to deliver your special gift.
The Full Drop Off
First, wrap all of your gifts ahead of time, and label them by day. Write a note telling the recipient they need to open ONE gift per day. Then, put everything in a large box or basket. Drop it on the recipient’s doorstep (doorbell dash) or deliver in person. Easy peasy, and you’re done.
Day to Day Drop Off
Second, if you want to give a new surprise daily or you have fresh items (like the cheese basket), you’ll need to give them something for each day. Obviously, this method is a bit more work.
And just know, with this delivery, it would be difficult to keep it anonymous (if that’s what you wanted).
Looking for holiday traditions that bring your family together?
Check out my affordable ebook packed with 260+ of the best family tradition ideas. It has lots of creative holiday ideas, plus unique traditions year-round to help you build quality time and unique memories with those you love.
Something to Consider With 12 Days of Christmas Gifts
There you have it! Lots of easy ideas to make this gift work for you! Use it for family, friends, Secret Santa, or even work. Now, enjoy a truly festive and fun holiday season!
What are your favorite 12 days of Christmas gift ideas? And, have you ever done this gift before?
Awesome Gift Posts to Check Out…
- Best Gifts for Anxiety Sufferers – perfect for self-care relief!
- Unique Date Night Gift Ideas for Couples– a date night gift basket makes the perfect no-clutter gift!
- Soothing Self Care Gifts for Moms – relax with these items just for mamas!
- The Best Gifts for Dads – Fun items just for dad!