Monday, December 24, 2012

Reflecting on Christmas: Perspective given by my children

In years past, I have made a valiant effort to find the “ultimate” gift for each person on my list. Often, I have spent hours shopping (which, if you know me, equates to torture of the nth degree). Budgets have been blown, and sticker shock is drowned out by Christmas carols played at too-high a volume on the ride home.

This year, my four-year-old is really starting to ask a lot of questions. Like, why do we have Christmas? Why do we give presents?

As my husband and I work to give thoughtful, rather than off-the-cuff, answers to each of his (million) questions, it has led me to think of our gift-giving in a deeper way. Why should we punish ourselves in the desperate search for the “ultimate” gift? The holiday is so much more about honoring the birth of Christ than whether or not we got that Nintendo WII we were hoping for. I’m not saying gift-giving is wrong, by any means. I confess to having a few things on my wish list this year. But give JOYFULLY! Unless it is another fruitcake, your loved ones will more often than not be pleased with whatever you find.

It was mentioned in our first December MOPS meeting, during our holiday tips discussion, that one person gives only 3 gifts to each child, in memory of how many gifts were given to Jesus. Those gifts were thoughtful and meaningful! Surely we can do the same without killing ourselves (figuratively) over our shopping?

This year, I have decided to put together gift baskets for each home we are visiting. There will be a little something for everyone. Mostly, it will be food, but food that is created lovingly and thoughtfully with our own hands. It can sometimes be hard to find the time to dedicate to this, but my little four-year-old kitchen helper is right there by my side, encouraging me. He is keenly interested in measuring, pouring, and sprinkling. I have put him in charge of spreading the sprinkles on the chocolate dipped pretzels. He took this job very seriously, and did it extremely well. He also helped pick out the cookie cutters to use for the salt-dough ornaments, and directed me in their placement on the cookie sheet.

If he can have that much enthusiasm for creating and giving, I can too!

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