Christmas joy over all 12 days

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.”

The 12 days of Christmas has morphed into the three days of Christmas on our block.

“On the third day of Christmas my true love put our tree out for the garbage man.”

I’m always offended at the Christmas trees lying in the gutter on December 26 and 27. It makes me want to scream, “There are 12 days of Christmas, people!” Of course, I never do, and every year it seems like there are more trees in the gutter. Here at the Kelly home, we’re going to spread the Christmas joy over all 12 days, starting on Christmas day, the first day. Each day, another friend will find a gift by the front door. No, I won’t be leaving six laying geese on Barb’s front steps, but I will be using the song as a guide.  

So, Christmas day, I gave pear-scented soap to my neighbor Annette. La Lavande French Triple Milled Pear Apple Soap from World Market ($5.99). On the second day, a box of Turtles chocolates for our postman ($4.99 for 6.4 ounces of Sea Salt Caramels at World Market).

For the third day of Christmas, I found three french hens at World Market for my bird-loving friend Marie. Wooden Fat Chicken Cardholders ($17.97 for a set of three). I made signs in the colors of France for my birds to hold, saying, “Merry Christmas.”

On the fourth day of Christmas, my pal Sophie and I will head to Living Coast Discovery Center to hear three or more calling birds (; 619-409-5900). The center has eagles, owls, falcons, and more in captivity, and it features a network of trails through the bayside marshes where egrets, ospreys, herons, egrets, and gulls can be seen and heard calling in the wild (admission for adults, $14; children, $9).

On the fifth day of Christmas, for the five rings, Patrick will take work associate Dan for a tour of the Olympic Training Center in east Chula Vista. Maybe the free, one-hour tour of the 155-acre site will inspire our budding athlete friend (; 619-656-1500).

On the sixth day of Christmas, it’s geese a layin’, so we ordered up a shipment from San Diego’s Seabreeze Organic Farms for health-conscious friend Haylie. The local organic farm delivers fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, and eggs. They’re chicken eggs, of course, but that’s okay ($64 a week for a regular share option of goods —; 858-481-0209).

A rubber ducky will take the place of the seven swans of the seventh day. It will be sent, along with my all-time favorite bubble bath, to my high-school friend Sue (Sleep Lavender Chamomile, $16.50 at Bath and Body Works).

On the eighth day of Christmas, new mama friend Nicole will get a gift certificate to New Beginnings Boutique to set her up for nursing her newborn (

On the ninth day of Christmas, it’s tickets for the ballet for Laurie. The ladies will be dancing Sleeping Beauty, by the California Ballet at the Civic Theatre; shows on May 17 and 18 (tickets from $40 to $90).

On the tenth day of Christmas, the ten lords will be leaping on the basketball court. Hubby Patrick’s pal Gabe loves the hoops. He’ll get a ticket to the University of San Diego’s game against Gonzaga in February ($30;; 619-260-7550).

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I’ll hand-deliver a bottle of scotch to our friends Alex and June, along with an invitation to accompany us to see the House of Scotland Pipe Band play at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on Sunday, December 29.

The grand finale, the twelfth day of Christmas, will be for my man Patrick — tickets to the TAO: Taiko Drummers of Japan at the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center, home to the San Diego Symphony. The drummers will be drumming on February 14 at 8 p.m. ($20–$85).

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