The Twelve Days of Christmas is a familiar holiday song, with lyrics that describe gifts that someone's true love sent to them, starting with a partridge in a pear tree and ending with twelve drummers drumming.
This sentiment can be turned into a positive for friendship as well. Rather than lavish gifts (like turtle doves or French hens), you can do twelve random of acts of kindness, beginning on Christmas Day and ending January 6th. You might want to pre-plan these using the friendship calendar.
The First Day of Christmas
Call up a friend to say "Merry Christmas," or just "hello and how're you doing?" This is a good time to make sure a friend who is feeling lonely this time of year knows that you care about them. Ask them about what's going on in their life and just listen to what they want to express. The act of being heard is a wonderful gift to give someone.
The Second Day of Christmas
Since December 26th is National Thank You Note Day, why not write out one for a friend, not for a gift they gave you, but for how they've been there for you in the past. Thank you notes can be funny or serious, depending on your friend's personality.
The Third Day of Christmas
Pick up a flower or small plant and drop it off for a friend in a nice vase or planter.
The Fourth Day of Christmas
Leave a candy bar on a coworker's desk in the morning in preparation of that 3:00 p.m. slump.
The Fifth Day of Christmas
Tell a friend who has kids that they are doing a good job as a parent, or compliment them on something their kids did. Parents often feel guilty they aren't doing a good enough job, so reassure your friend by offering words of praise.
The Sixth Day of Christmas
Buy a friend some coffee before or after work. It will also give you a chance to catch up with and see how they're doing.
The Seventh Day of Christmas
Post an inspiring quote to a friend's Facebook wall, or send it in an email with a note saying that you're thinking of them.
The Eighth Day of Christmas
Happy New Year! Ask a friend what their New Year's Resolutions are and offer to help in any way you can. Often the best way to help is to encourage them when things get rough and offer a friendly face when they're having a challenging day.
The Ninth Day of Christmas
Do you owe a friend an apology? If so, make it happen today. Tell them, "I was just thinking about that time that I did (insert situation) and I'm not sure I ever apologized. If not, please know how sorry I am. Your friendship is important to me."
If you don't have to apologize, do you need to forgive? Start the process of forgiveness of today, if not by telling your friend that you forgive them, then by mentally preparing yourself to move on from the hurt.
The Tenth Day of Christmas
Tell a friend you're in the mood to help someone today. Ask a friend what they most need: babysitting, organizing, running errands? Whatever they say, jump in and volunteer a few hours of your time.
The Eleventh Day of Christmas
Call up that one friend you can never seem to schedule time with and set a date on the calendar. Vow to follow through no matter how busy you are.
The Twelfth Day of Christmas
Do you have an unexpected friendship with a parent, cousin, or mentor, for example? Tell them how happy you are to have them in your life.
The Twelve Days of Christmas - A Final Note
About.com's Marriage Guide points out that if you did the real Twelve Days of Christmas (with the five golden rings, six geese a-laying, etc.) is would cost over a hundred thousand dollars. With this Twelve Days for Friendship, however, you'll be spending about $10. What an inexpensive way to nurture your friendships!