12 Gifts of Christmas from Little Egypt

If you are a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies, you may have watched “The Twelve Dates of Christmas.” Although it was reportedly filmed in Canada this past summer, the movie highlighted real and some fictional locations and experiences in Chicago.

Guess what. Southern Illinois, a.k.a. Little Egypt, also has many wonderful experiences! Originally, I wanted to write about experiences similar to the ones in the movie that could be found here. However, in the midst of a pandemic when we seem to be moving toward tighter restrictions for the upcoming holidays, that might be difficult.

I do think we can still help each other support and highlight many wonderful Southern Illinois products, services, and experiences. Small Business Saturday is right around the corner. That would be a perfect time to grab some local items to gift or perhaps make a basket full of things to enjoy now and gift certificates for things to do when COVID-19 restrictions lift a bit. Purchasing gift certificates from small businesses is one way to also help them get through this difficult period.

Here are some suggestions to get you started…

A Partridge in Pear Tree:

Southern Illinois wine with aroma of pear

Two Turtle Doves:

Chocolate Turtles or baked items

Turtle candy flavored coffee or scented candles

Three French Hens:

Gift certificate to eat chicken at a local restaurant

Poultry from a local farm

Four Calling Birds:

Gift certificate to a pet store

Five Golden Rings:

Gold or goldtone stack rings from a local jeweler or boutique

Local seasonings and ingredients with a recipe for onion rings

Gift certificate to a restaurant with delicious onion rings

Six Geese a Laying:

Gift certificates for food and a gas card or lodging certificate for a trip to see the geese at areas near Rend Lake, Crab Orchard Lake, Carlyle Lake , etc.

Seven Swans Swimming:

Gas card or passes/ tickets to go to areas with migrating Trumpeter Swans, such as West Alton and Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge

A membership or pass to a local indoor swimming pool

Eight Maids Milking:

Products from or a gift certificate to a local dairy, creamery, ice cream, etc.

Nine Ladies Dancing:

Dance class lessons

Tickets to a ballet, ethnic dance event, or other dance performance at a location like Shryock Auditorium or a even a local school production.

Ten Lords Leaping:

Gymnastic or martial arts lessons

Fitness center or gym membership

Bowling Alley gift certificates

Eleven Piping Pipers:

A gift certificate to a local music shop

Tickets to a local performance

A digital download or CD of a local music group or from a local music shop

Twelve Drummers Drumming:

A gift certificate to a local music store or local performance

A digital download or CD of a local music group or from a local music shop

Consider cookies or cupcakes from a local baker to depict each of the twelve days or the ones that stump you. You could also get local artisan made Christmas ornaments or even jewelry to match the twelve days or part of them. Have fun and be creative. Do what fits your budget.

Another possibility is to gift a night or weekend at a Southern Illinois cabin, inn, or lodge with a scavenger hunt list of items to take photos of things corresponding to the twelve days.

The ASOSI app is still free as well as the links on the A Slice of Southern Illinois website to help you find restaurants, artisans, places to see and more from I-70 to the southern state line. The links tend to be categorized by town. It is a continually updating list. Please message or email any that you think if that could be added.

You may also comment with gift suggestions on the Facebook page post of this article. We would love to know about Southern Illinois small businesses that have product available through national sites like Amazon and Etsy. Locally owned services offering gift certificates are another welcome suggestion.

To make it easier to see what is shared, please use the hashtag #12SIGiftsofChristmas and maybe which Days of Christmas/Gifts of Christmas correspond to the suggestion, such as #11PipersPiping

Be safe, have fun, and support local small businesses. Merry Christmas!

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