Guys. I had the most brilliant idea way back in AUGUST 2016. I can’t even remember what I was doing, but I was putzing around on Pinterest, and an idea popped into my brain and I felt like I was in a movie and a lightbulb turned on above my head.
I decided that I was going to do the 12 Days of Christmas Gifts for one of my closest, dearest friends BRENDA. I’ve talked about her before on the ol’ bloggy blog, like the time we drove over a cliff, and the time she was wonderful and came to help me paint the basement, and I know there are other times that I’m just not thinking of.
Brenda moved back to her home state of Michigan a few days after Daniel was born. We were both so happy that she was able to meet him before she moved back – I was devastated at only the THOUGHT that she wouldn’t be able to meet him for months and months.
Anyways, Brenda is one of the most wonderful people on this earth, and I was like “OMG this would be SO FUN to do.” So. I did it! Also, it’s REALLY hard keeping the 12 days a surprise for Peter every year. I WAS DYING THIS YEAR not being able to tell Brenda that I was doing this. It’s a good thing she lives so far away, otherwise I totally would have spilled the beans. Also, when Brenda did get her gifts I was like, “This is why I’ve been avoiding your calls, because I wasn’t sure I would be able to contain my excitement.”
Doing a friend edition was amazing you guys, especially when you know the person getting it will be SO surprised! I worked with a couple of little elves to make this come to life. The ONLY thing that almost foiled the entire thing was FedEx. Pro tip: Don’t use FedEx.
In the early days of December I went to a shipping place to figure out what day I should ship everything to Brenda so that the package would arrive on day one. I was anxious – such an important part of the 12 days, and I couldn’t control it! I went with FedEx because they guaranteed the arrival date. Perfect.
ALL DAY on December 14 I was checking the tracking obsessively and waiting for a call or text from Brenda saying she got her gift. I told her sister (Her poor sister was probably to the point of being like “Leave me the eff alone.”) that it was supposed to arrive. And then, it didn’t. And I was SO SAD. Like, actually got teared up.
So the next day towards the end of the day when it didn’t arrive AGAIN, I texted Brenda and was like “Sooooo… you need to really look all over because there should be a Christmas package for you…” And that made me sad because I wanted it to be a complete surprise.
I called FedEx and was like YOU ARE RUINING CHRISTMAS. (Ok, I wasn’t aggressive aggressive as I like to call it, but I was DEFINITELY not passive aggressive.) Anyways, after being transferred to a bunch of different people, I finally had to text Brenda and be like “They left the package on your back porch.” And she was like, “WTF FedEx NEVER leaves packages on the back porch.”
At least there is a happy ending, and Brenda got her package on day two, so it actually turned out ok. AND IT WAS SO FUN GETTING A TEXT FROM HER EVERY DAY WITH WHAT SHE OPENED. I felt like it was Christmas every day for me, too!!
Since I wanted to mail everything to Brenda and have it all pretty and stuff, I was SUPER good about photo shoots (unlike Peter’s 12 days…). Ugh, it turned out sooooo pretty and sooooo perfect!!!
Day 1 (December 14)
Merry Christmas, Brenda!
It’s the best time of year!
12 Days of Gifts
To fill you with cheer!
I’ve been so excited
Planning this for you;
I even had some elves
Helping me too!
For the first day of Christmas,
One Christmas decoration.
Enjoy the rest of your gifts –
Eleven more days of celebration!
Day 2 (December 15)
“Mistle”toes on two feet
Give your little tootsies a treat!
Day 3 (December 16)
Christmas cookies in a jar
OMG SO YUMMY
Add three ingredients
And GET IN MY TUMMY.
This one was super fun to put together, especially if you’re looking for a pretty and easy gift to give someone. I feel like it would be a great housewarming gift around the holidays. I had seen these things all over Pinterest, and after making it, I will definitely be making them again!
I had to send Brenda the picture of what this was supposed to look like, because THIS is what it looked like when she actually got it. So sad, right??
Day 4 (December 17)
A magnet from Shawano
I’m so thankful for your time in Shawano!
Those four years introduced me to the greatest person I know.
CRI was less fun when I couldn’t see your face;
Think of me when you see Shawano all up in your fridge space!
If you told me in 2011 when I moved to Green Bay and worked in Shawano that six years later, not even working there anymore, I would still be attached to the town, I would have laughed in your face. I’m pretty sure that Brenda would say the same about that town.
Day 5 (December 18)
Anyone who knows you,
Knows you have more than five,
But use this great book
To see where you thrive.
I did the StrengthsFinder in 2015 when I was going through career coaching, and it was wonderful. You do a pretty in-depth assessment, and it pops back with your top FIVE strengths. Not only does it talk about your strengths on a general level, but the report comes back with an insight on how your strengths play off of each other. I recommend StrenghtsFinder to anyone who will listen. It really helps you recognize where you shine, and who doesn’t like learning about what they do well??
Day 6 (December 19)
Mug with brownie ingredients listed on the side
Only six ingredients
To make this treat.
Who doesn’t love
A brownie to eat?
Don’t mind me, being all crafty. This was another one that I had seen all over Pinterest and always had intentions of doing. Like the cookie-mix-in-a-jar thing, it was SO EASY when I actually did it that I feel like I need to do it again. What I’m basically telling you is that if I am in a gift drawing with you and the limit is like, $5, I will give you this mug and a cookie-in-a-jar thing. But know they were made with love!!
One of the things that I love about Brenda is that she is always looking to better herself, even though she is already one of the most spectacular people I know. I was roaming the aisles of Target one day, saw this book, and the lightbulb went off that this would be just perfect for Brenda.
Day 8 (December 21)
Pack of “Hey” notecards
Eight cards to send
When you have something happy to say
To your friends who are near
Or hundreds of miles away.
Brenda is really thoughtful, and loves sending mail to people. Notecards came in a pack of 8, so this was obviously perfect.
Day 9 (December 22)
Coffee’s so good,
It’s a nice morning treat.
Here are nine cups
To help make your day sweet!
This is the part where Daniel woke up from his nap.
Day 10 (December 23)
Mini Adirondack chair
We’re both alumni
Of the Big Ten.
Now I have a chair like yours
To watch the games in!
Wow, as I’m writing this post and looking back at my gifts, I am too impressed with how crafty I was.
I can’t remember if I’ve ever shared how handy Brenda is. She made the bookshelves that are in Elijah’s room for Daniel before he was born. She is SO GOOD. Seriously, everyone who visits our house comments on those bookshelves.
Another thing that she made which is awesome is a Spartan Adirondack chair.
You guys, she MADE that. Anyways, she is a Michigan State alum, I am a Wisconsin alum, blah blah blah this mini chair was super cute and already red, so I just drew the Wisconsin W on it.
(Also, now I’m feeling less impressed with myself about drawing a W on a chair that was tiny when Brenda fricking built an actual, usable chair.)
Day 11 (December 24)
$11 gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings
To some wings.
(I know they’re some
of your favorite things!)
Who doesn’t like BWW??
Day 12 (December 25)
You Are a Badass calendar
Twelve months of the year,
Every single day,
You are amazing
In every single way.
I think that everyone needs to be reminded daily on how awesome they are, and this calendar is just perfect for it.
So there you are! My 12 Days of Christmas Friend Edition. Oh man, it was so so so so much fun to do for my sweet friend. A fantastic Christmas gift to put together for someone!
If you want to see what I’ve done for Peter the last few years, here it is!