when i was growing up, every year starting on december 13, we would pick a family in our neighborhood to do 12 days of Christmas to. secretly. we would start out with one small treat or gift, then two, then three, and so forth. we would write our own riddles to go along with it that included a scripture and on Christmas Eve, we would give a big gift and introduce ourselves. my favorite part of it was the doorbell ditching and the hiding. it was so much fun. i'm sure that is not what my parents had in mind for what they wanted our favorite part to be, but for us kids, running away as fast as our legs could carry us and hiding was as much fun as we could think of. doorbell ditching is a favorite past time among friends but not really allowed, so to have it encouraged and necessary was like having candy for dinner.
when we chose a family, their house and how easy it would be to hide after ringing the doorbell was a major factor. my sisters and i became experts at hiding in the most creative of places. i did also love giving a family that was new to the neighborhood, having a hard time, etc a little extra Christmas cheer.
one year, we decided to be extra ambitious and picked a family that had about 8 kids. they were new to the neighborhood but their house was going to be very difficult to hide around. they had a very, very steep driveway that steeped down to their house from the street above and only a bush or two next to the doorway which was under a window. our plan was to cut out the high street all together and walk from their house to our house by cutting through 3 neighbor's houses to get to the long driveway to led to our gated community. the problem was, there was nowhere to hide in the direction we needed to run to get home. like i said, this was the most ambitious house we had done.
this house was in the later years of my childhood and so by this time we were pros at this game but my two oldest sisters were too cool and old to do the doorbell ditching, so this year it was me and the sister right above me, rachelle. one night, one of the sons from the family answered the door really, really quickly. we had no choice but to hide in the bushes under the window and next to the doorway as i mentioned before. we were crouching down into the darkness, trying not to breath, begging that our flawless track record of never having gotten caught was not be broken. the son stood at the doorway, turned the light on, and looked around for a few minutes. luckily, we had hidden deep enough into the bushes that we weren't caught, but man was it close!!
on Christmas Eve when we revealed ourselves, the son who nearly caught us said he could have sworn we were close that night but didn't think we were right next to him! i think that might have been the last year that we did the 12 days of Christmas as after that my older sisters started to move out for college and my mom lost interest in the tradition without all of us under one roof.
but i always loved that tradition. welcoming a new family to the neighborhood, bringing light and the true meaning of Christmas to someone. it was always my favorite part of Christmas.
what is your favorite family Christmas tradition?
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