Originally Published 12/2010
Last Christmas things were looking pretty decent for my family. My wife and I were both going to school, so we had some extra money for presents this year. Since I have been on disability, Christmas has been a struggle, but every year we have somehow (with help) managed to pull it off and give our kids a great Christmas. This year we were looking forward to being able to provide a great Christmas without the help, we even had enough to be able to buy for our parents and nieces and nephews. It was truly going to be an awesome Christmas. Sometimes though the reality exceeds the expectations and this was to be one of those times.
It was a Sunday night (the 12th of December), my wife was working until midnight and I had to pick her up. When we arrived back at the house, there was a wrapped basket with a card stuck in it, my wife and I both looked around, trying to figure out where it came from. We took the stuff inside to further inspect it. The envelope on the card read something to the effect of; Forget the partridge in the pear tree the cats chased it away. We were both looking at each other, like what the hell? Inside the card was written: Cats believe do you? A very merry Christmas. We take off the wrapping paper on the basket and see that it is filled with several cat toys and bags of kitty treats. So we are scratching our heads trying to figure out where this odd kitty gift basket came from. We end up concluding that it came from the crazy cat lady that lives around the corner from us; we have one of her cat’s kittens so it at least made sense.
The next day, it was in the evening, I happened to walk past the front door and noticed there was something on the porch. Opening the door I see another basket. I bring it in, the attached card says: On the second day of Christmas… Santa remembered… Two turtle doves. And he didn’t forget two special doggies. Merry Christmas! Opening the basket, it was filled and I mean filled with dog toys and treats. Now my wife and I and our children were really at a loss, but since it was sticking with an animal theme we still thought it was the cat lady.
Day three- sometime during the afternoon a card had been dropped off, it was in the mailbox, but had no postage so it had been hand delivered. Inside the card was written: On the third day of Christmas, Santa thought about ‘Three French Hens’! Santa decided that he prefers French Fries. Hope you do too! ~Enjoy~ Inside the card were three ten dollar Burger King cards and a fifty dollar Tim Horton’s (great coffee and doughnuts) card. Also, there was a handwritten letter, saying something along the lines of; bring this letter with you (to a local Pizza Hut) to receive two large pizzas with the toppings of your choice. We invite my parents over for dinner and go to Pizza Hut and get our pizzas.
Ok, so now what or should I say who is behind this, my wife and I have no idea. We both start posting about it on Facebook, trying to find out if anyone knew anything. None of our friends had any insight, but all pretty much came to the same conclusion we had reached; we were part of some twelve days of Christmas. We were starting to get excited as the gifts had gotten progressively better.
For me, personally, there was no day during the twelve that was better than day four. Late in the afternoon, around five, my dogs started barking, so without hesitation I ran to the front door and sure enough there were two large bags and another card. Going on to the porch I see a guy and his young daughter walking down the street, I yell thank you, he just turns and smiles and continues walking. I bring in the bags and set the card on the table. We take the bags into our room to check out what is inside. We discover it is filled with toys and we figure this is the day that the presents for the kids were being dropped off. Many of the toys seemed to be for an age group quite a bit younger then our children, but we just figured this is great, anything extra just makes for a better Christmas. After we had looked through both bags, my wife asked, “What did the card say?”
I shrugged and answered, “I don’t know, I set it on the table when I brought the bags to the room,” and we walk to the table and get the card, inside the card is written: Santa is aware of your family’s giving spirit. So in the spirit of the Christmas season, behold gifts for you to share with others in need of some Christmas cheer… Santa. At first we are both struck by the idea of trying to figure out whom to give these gifts to. Within moments we reach the conclusion that facebook would be the best way to find the person who could benefit most.
By now, several “friends” and family members had taken an interest and we both had stuff written on our walls asking what we had gotten for day four. We put up identical status’ saying what was written in the card and if anyone needed help or knew someone who did to send a message to the inbox and we could set something up. Within an hour my wife was talking on the phone to one of her friends, a single mother with shut-off notices, hours being cut at work, two weeks behind on her daycare payment and no plan for Christmas whatsoever. It was the perfect match and during the whole of the twelve days I was never more thankful then when we dropped of the presents at this girl’s apartment. It is something we would not have been able to do on our own and nothing can replace that feeling of good, knowing you had really, really helped save someone’s Christmas.
Day five- nothing came during the day and by now the whole family was anxiously waiting to see what would be next. Right about supper time there was a knock on the door. It was a delivery person with two large pizzas and chicken wings. We may not have invented pizza, but in Buffalo I think we have perfected it. He handed over the pizzas and said not to worry about it, it was taken care of, and he also gave me card. Inside the card was written: Santa knows that everyone loves a treat at Christmas. Since you’ve been extra good this year, here’s a treat for you. Santa.
Day six- from this day forward we pretty much knew who had set this up for us, but it is my belief that they wished to remain anonymous and so they shall. Anyway, on day six the Fire Department stopped at our house. They had a card that read: One the Sixth Day of Christmas… Santa’s magical geese laid a lot more than eggs. Luckily, we have friends in the Fire Department to help with the delivery. They brought about a month’s worth of meat and about two-three weeks worth of groceries. Our cupboards were stuffed. Day six also brought some ill tidings.
At a Christmas function earlier in the day, I had run into a former friend, I would say at one time a best friend. I had heard rumors, but given how my Christmas was going I tried to ignore those rumors and take him at face value. I invited him, his wife and their children over. While we sat around drinking coffee and catching up I told them all about the Twelve Days of Christmas. My wife never really seemed comfortable with them, me I just tried to ignore my most basic instinct which was screaming this person is bad. I am not going to go into great detail on this, let’s just say he duped me, I wanted to be nice and be trusting (neither of which are my strong suit.)
Day seven- nothing had come during the day and I had to pick up my wife at midnight. When we got home there was an old bowling ball bag with a bowling ball and a letter inside. The letter entitled us to a free afternoon of bowling and pizza at a local bowling alley.
Day eight- this was another one of my favorite days. We were visited by the police. A police woman dropped off one large basket and one medium sized basket and a card. The card read: You have the right to a Merry Christmas. Anything you say can and will be relayed directly to Santa Claus. You have the right to speak to an Elf. If you do not know an elf, just check out this gift… because the elves know you. Both the baskets were filled with lotions and bath stuff and things like lip gloss. Also, there were two certificates for a day at the spa for my wife and daughter. One other funny thing about this day, the police woman who had dropped off the stuff, had slightly pointy ears and my daughter was convinced she was an elf.
Day nine- this was the oddest day. Sometime after dinner there was a commotion outside and going to door there were several young ladies in dance outfits. They had a large sign that read something like, for the boys on ninth day of Christmas nine ladies dancing. They sang and brought clothes for the boys and me. I was most impressed by the fact these girls were wearing their dance outfits, it’s Buffalo in December, it was freezing out, they did a great job.
Day ten- since I turn into a cookie monster at this time of year, this was another good day for me. We got a humungous tray of cookies and other treats, along with a printed out poem that read:
On the Tenth day of Christmas,
Ten Lords were a’ leapin’ for some sweet treats
From Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen.
Here are ten kinds of cookies and candies
Made especially for you by Mrs. Claus.
Being the ultimate insider,
Mrs. Claus has this advice for you:
Be ready on Thursday,
At the hour of eight,
Have a camera ready
As you watch and you wait.
A special treat is coming
This 24th of December
Mrs. Claus knows that it will be
A night to remember.
Day eleven- Christmas Eve. By this day we were kind of freaking out. Dreaming big, but trying to remain grounded in reality. What should we expect to be arriving at eight? We invited my parents over to exchange presents and so they could also be there to see what went down. At around eight there is a knock on the door, opening it there stood before me Santa Claus. There are people who put on a Santa suit and act like Santa Claus, but this WAS Santa Claus standing at my door, he had a female elf with him. Then at the end of the driveway a guy started playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. Personally, I am not much of a fan of bagpipes (sounds like a dying animal) but this dude is standing at the end of driveway, wearing a kilt and playing bagpipes and it so damn cold out that I am surprised his pipes haven’t frozen, I was impressed.
After the bagpipe performance Santa comes in and he asks to see a special little girl. My daughters eyes light up and she goes over and sits right on Santa’s lap. He tells her how he heard that she has been an extra good girl this year and that he wanted to hand deliver a special gift to her. He gives it to her and tells her she can open it. Opening it she screams with delight, it is the one gift she wanted more than anything else. Before Santa left he gave me a large box and said it was for me to open and I could open it tonight. The box was one of those boxes inside boxes; on each box was a little note. It went through all our animals and children and my wife (sounding like it could be gift for each person) ultimately ending with me. In the final box there was a letter stating that our gas bill had been paid for the next several month and in Buffalo having your gas bill paid for during the winter months is a great gift.
About an hour after my parents left my wife gets a text (from the person we know set this up) asking if we had gotten the gifts that were on the side of the house. So we go outside. Alongside the house there are several big black garbage bags. As we bring them in we are both repeatedly saying, “Wow” “Oh my god!” and “There’s more?” All told there were twelve bags filled with gifts. As I start taking them out to place them around the tree, separating them by name, I notice that some have my wife’s name and my name and I say to my wife, “We have gifts to open,” and I do a little happy dance. Long ago we stopped buying for each other; our gift was our children’s happiness as they opened their presents.
Day twelve- Christmas morning. After adding the presents that we had bought, well let’s just say it was beyond impressive. The children wake up early and ALL of us open our presents. Every one of us feels so incredibly grateful for everything that had been done for us. It strengthened my belief in humanity. Most people have beliefs, in religions and Gods, but it comes down to people choosing to do something good and all the people involved in our twelve days of Christmas chose to do something good. We will never forget that Christmas and it will be our goal to someday help out a family in the same way.
Most memorable moments- In their own words.
My eight year old daughter- “I loved the end so, so much when I got Little Big Planet from Santa and I got to see him. Also, there were so many presents under the tree. My mom and I got a trip to the spa. It was the best Christmas of my life.”
My eleven year old son- “My favorite part of the twelve days of Christmas was the anticipation. You never knew what was next. Once it was pizza, then a bunch of presents (yaa.) As you can see I loved the twelve days of Christmas.”
My fifteen year old son- “The bagpiper was pretty cool, also Santa coming and talking to my sister was neat.”
My wife- “Day four was my favorite, being able to help my friend was the best. Also Christmas eve, finding out our gas bill was paid was awesome. Of course all the clothes I got were great as well. Staring at our Christmas tree, with all the wrapped gifts surrounding our living room, was like something I have never seen before. Just sitting there in awe, feeling extremely impatient for the kids to get up and see this for themselves!! The whole entire experience was amazing for everyone in our family!! I can’t wait until I am able to afford to do this for a family, so they may have this wonderful experience!!”
This year we will be helping out, we will be elves this year, helping in any way they need. We are really looking forward to being able to give back and help the whatever family is chosen.
Me- it was definitely day four. The experience as a whole renewed my faith in humanity.
That is our story of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!