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In my husband's family, the Epiphany (January 6) was celebrated every year by giving each child a book. Commonly referred to as Twelfth Night, this day is when the Wise Men found Jesus and gave him their gifts. When my son was three I wanted to have a Christmas Party for him, but the time before Christmas was too hectic for friends to bring their children to yet another party. January 6th seemed to be the ideal time to have a children's party because it was after the main holiday events that made it easier for children and parents to come; and, more importantly, because the children had already experienced Christmas, the party had more meaning to them.

Keeping with my husband's family tradition, we focus on literacy. Guests are asked to bring a book or puzzle for a gift exchange. Everyone who brings a gift leaves with a gift. Everyone really enjoys this new holiday event to end the season.
KellyAnn Bonnell - Founder,

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Out of concern that my children were much too involved in the "getting" and not the "giving" of gifts, I started this tradition. Each child buys a small gift, (usually around one dollar) or makes a gift for each member of the family. On Christmas morning, each child passes out the gifts that they have purchased or made and these are opened first. Only after all those gifts are opened are the gifts from parents and grandparents opened. It is a small thing, but I do think it forces my children to think about what to give someone else and not just about what they might be receiving. The financial cost is minimal since we try to keep each gift to around one dollar. The gifts are not "super-fantastic" by any means, but it is good practice for them as they think about the person and what that person would like.

For instance, my children know that their grandfather loves chocolate. He likes nothing better than receiving small boxes of chocolates for Christmas. It's simple, inexpensive, but very effective.
Debbie Garrett, Owner and Crafter - Bear Family Gifts Corner

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For 25 years we've been getting together with close friends on Christmas Eve.  We used to have a fondue, which was always fun. We'd have chicken, pork, steak, shrimp, scallops, breaded cheese cubes, and onions to cook in hot oil as well as a cheese and dessert fondue. Salad & wine complete the meal.

Now there are too many of us and little kids, so a fondue doesn't work as well.  The last few years we each bring an appetizer dish or two and we eat all evening! There's always way more food than we need. Some years we've had a gift auction. Everyone brings a gag gift and is given play money and the gifts are auctioned off. One of the best gifts was the year someone auctioned off her spouse's old love letters (they were returned later in the night). Another was the year a 12 year old filled a rum bottle with water, bought it at the auction, cracked it, and downed the bottle - got a real rise out of the adults! Our get together changes each year as we change, but what never changes is that it's always an evening filled with laughter & fellowship.
Wendy Kennedy, Owner - Canadian Country Gifts


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