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Be the true love and give for twelve days

December 9th, 2010

Of all the Christmas music that fills my ears during the holiday season, there is no song I loathe more than “The 12 days of Christmas.”  It’s most likely the recounting and repetitiveness that gets to my patience, but all-in-all I take it to be a useless carol.  The term “twelve days of Christmas” represents the twelve days beginning Dec. 25 and ending Jan. 5 and is also known as Christmastide. As we all have heard in the song, some individual known as the “true love” gives gifts of French hens, golden rings, pipers piping, etc. But instead of biting my tongue, trying to hold back a giant “Bah, Humbug!” I’ve turned my vitriol for this melody into something positive. And hopefully those who don’t like this song will find catharsis in my plan: follow the song’s theme and be the gift-giver for any twelve days around Christmas.

The catch is however, each gift shouldn’t have to cost you anything but your time. Most of us have already purchased holiday gifts for family members and friends. This type of gift isn’t the tangible kind, but the type expressed through action.  Below are ideas to follow should you decide to make others feel special for 12 days of Christmas.

1) Shovel the driveway of a grandparent or elderly neighbor.  This Cleveland weather is not only a struggle for those who forgot to waterproof their Ugg boots. Helping out senior citizens by shoveling the snow for them is a genuine holiday gesture.

2) Donating old toys and books to a charity.  Charitable groups such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill and the Ronald McDonald House accept toy donations for young children. So while some of us are receiving Apple’s latest “toys,” we can offer up our old Thomas the Tank Engine and Polly Pockets to children in need.

3) Visit the Ronald McDonald House. Schedule a date for one of the 12 days to volunteer to prepare a meal for the families staying there. After a long day at the hospital, who wouldn’t appreciate a nice home-cooked meal?

4) Help out in the kitchen.  This one’s not only for you, ladies.  Whoever is working in the kitchen during the holidays could always use a little help before and after the meal.

5) Be someone else’s Santa’s helper. Help someone else wrap gifts. That’s why Santa has elves.

6) Return and purchase. Take one of the gifts you received, return it, and buy something for someone else.

7) Have a Secret Santa among close friends and/or family. The gifts must have meaning, but you cannot spend any money.

8) Go to the library, rent “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and watch it with someone you care about.

9) Give the gift that continues to give: donate your old coats, hats, gloves and scarves to Coats for Kids.

10) Carroll Caroler: Belt out your favorite holiday tunes at a local retirement home or hospital.

11) Create homemade Christmas cards for soldiers via the Red Cross’s “Holiday Mail for Heroes.” (Cards must be postmarked no later than Dec 10.)

12) Help transport Christmas gifts to families for an organization looking for volunteers.

Hopefully, this wasn’t too much preaching on my part. Nobody has to do this, but to those who do, may it instill warmness in your heart and a smile on your face. Happy Holidays!