KN, p. 229 “The Twelve Days of Christmas”


Many years ago, mom ran behind on organizing our family Christmas preparations. Dad helped whenever he could after his seasonal twelve hour shifts and the kids pitched in when asked to fetch and carry and clean up, but somehow with evening meetings and community outreach volunteering, our own celebrations got away from us. At the last minute, shopping hadn’t been finished, wrapping was far from done, and about the only thing we had nailed down were the cookies, the tree, and the Christmas music in the background.


So Mom invented her own version of the twelve days of Christmas. Mom proposed that we stop going crazy and instead of exchanging all the gifts, big and little, on Christmas Day, we would spread them out over twelve days. After a little grumbling about the break from our normal routine, we kids got on board when we realized that 12 gifts were more than 2 or 3.


The rules: We all had to contribute the ideas and some of the presents. We had to be creative about the gifts, since we didn’t have any more cash than usual. We also had to decide as a group what the theme would be for each of the twelve days.


Mom and Dad and three children working in unison, with varying levels of skills and commitment, could have meant chaos, but Mom kept us on track with the word, “Twelve.” That’s all she had to say. Lolol So many secrets, so many mini-projects, such a busy house, but instead of crammed into three days beforehand, with everyone scattering to friends’ houses during the evenings after Christmas Day, we had a blast. Our friends joined us some nights. Dad’s hours slowed down to a normal 9 to 5 and Mom had the whole week off from her day job. Take a look at some of what we gave. Not always individual presents, and a few were gifts from one of us for the whole group.


  1. Cookie Day: A batch of cookies, split five ways – and hot chocolate came with the cookies.
  2. Book Day: A book for each person, already purchased by Mom – each of us read the first page to the family.
  3. Drawings Day: My brother created drawings for each person.
  4. Photo Day: I picked out a photo of each person and placed it on a handmade ornament for the tree.
  5. Poetry Day: Each of us had to write a poem and share it.
  6. Joke Day: We made up jokes – mostly knock-knock jokes – and shared. Silly fun.
  7. What I Like About You: One thing about each family member was shared by each of us.
  8. Favor Day: A bowl contained papers telling something we each needed help with (yard work, trading chores, etc) We chose from it to see what favor we would do.
  9. Game Day: Dad had this one covered beforehand and we played the games he had picked up for us.
  10. Performance Day: My brother told a scary ghost story, Sis and I sang an off-key duet, Mom played the piano, and dad played the kazoo.
  11. Present for Mom: We cleaned our rooms. Even the closets.
  12. Present for Dad: We helped him straighten up and sweep the garage.


If you’re keeping track, no, we didn’t receive twelve wrapped gifts, but that Christmas stands out in my memory bank. Could it be replicated in this day of internet and streaming technology? Maybe not all of it, but the basic concept still works.


Give the gifts of time and love for each other.  🙂


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!


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KN, p. 188 “Be on the lookout for a chubby guy in a red suit.”


Santa for KerrianIMG_6258

The local Police Chief has issued a BOLO.  (That’s “Be On the Look Out.”)

The Chief wants everyone on active duty tonight to watch for a suspicious guy in a red suit that’s been doing a weird kind of home invasion every year all over town. Here’s the description we have so far:


The suspect has a chubby build – it’s been reported that his belly shakes a lot, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

He is most likely a senior citizen since he has a white beard and hair.

He has a big laugh that was reported as sounding like “Ho, ho, ho.”

There has been no mention of eye color, but they supposedly twinkle.

Several witnesses have mentioned a broad face, dimples, rosy cheeks, and a cherry colored nose.


As for clothes – we had a couple sit with a sketch artist and aside from the face and body type, the guy wears a red suit made of fur, but it’s really dirty – like he rolled in ashes and soot. Six other people corroborated the ID.


By the way, if you see anybody smoking a pipe, call it in. That might be our guy.


In the past, the suspect has been spotted trying to get into houses and leaving boxes behind, but he’s not breaking windows or doors.  We think he must be in decent shape, because he’s been up on rooftops, and has been seen jumping down chimneys.


Be aware that he travels in a small speedy sleigh pulled by 8 tiny reindeer. The reindeer are definite accomplices and work as a team, but if you catch the lead honcho, the rest might follow.


One kid caught him inside his own house last year and tried to bribe him with cookies and milk to get him to stay, but it didn’t work. The old guy took the cookie, gave the kid a nod, rose up the chimney and got away in the sleigh.


So far, he’s not dangerous, but he has repeatedly violated the littering laws. We also have him for illegal entry, as well as disturbing the peace. We get a load of complaints every December about the clatter up on the roofs. Nobody can sleep. Plus, it’s getting embarrassing that we can’t stop him.


Let’s catch this repeat offender once and for all so we can have a good night! 



Merry Christmas everyone! May you have a light heart, full of hope and kindness during this special season.


*This has been a nod to the famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” generally credited to Clement Clarke Moore.


*Photo by Patti Phillips






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KN, p. 160 “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays for All”



2015 has been a year of challenges for most of the world, with violence at home and abroad in the news every day. If it’s not about international military and/or political power struggles, the media is probably telling us about government conflict or sadly, the latest shooting perpetrated by a disturbed individual. I can’t remember the last time when so many people were so angry about so many aspects of the world in which we live.


And yet, if you ask how they are, how the family is, nothing much has changed. Friends and family members may get sick, lose a loved one, have trouble at work or experience a bump in the financial road, but most would say they are happy overall – that they live a life that’s good.


We may not be able to control what happens outside our circle, but we can control our reaction to it. And we can certainly control our reaction to the events inside our personal world.

During this Christmas, and whatever your holiday season, let’s all promise to:

  • Be kinder to each other, including Uncle Tim who tells the same stories every holiday. You’ll miss those stories when he’s gone.
  • Be gentler in our responses to each other, even when Auntie May spills her coffee again. You’ll need help someday, too.
  • Be less critical of each other. Your way may not be the only way to get the job done.
  • Hug a friend. Hugs are full of comfort.
  • Smile. Often. You’ll feel better.
  • Call a relative or friend that doesn’t get out anymore. Five minutes. That’s all it takes to change a person’s day.
  • Give the gift of time. Stop texting and talk to your friends and family face-to-face. Memories are made when people laugh and giggle together.
  • Give the gift of forgiveness. Soften your heart and forget the small stuff before it gets to be the big stuff.
  • Write a letter and snail mail it to the older people in your life. Not everybody has email.
  • Make every day count. Volunteer, serve, donate. Make someone’s life easier.
  • Give the gift of love. It means the world.


Above all, have a wonderful Christmas/holiday season and a slam dunk great 2016!


The Kerrians will be back in January with Charlie’s New Year’s Resolutions. 🙂


*Photo by Patti Phillips – Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal, Canada


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