After sleeping off my frap this morning and the kids school work for the day we had a little family meeting regarding Christmas.
We have in the past taken the kids to the dollar store where they could pick out items for each of our family members including extended family. That is good and all but this year I wanted to let them in on the true joy of gift giving. The planning, budgeting, dreaming, and shopping/creating something special with the specific intent of bring joy to someone else. The dollar store sprees never allowed for dreaming or planning, and the dollar store budget didn’t leave much room for getting a gift that the giver could feel invested in for the purpose of putting others before themselves. We gave the kids their per-person budget and a few things to think about (something the recipient would really like, you can pool your funds to go in together on a gift, consider the size for packing). Then after explaining that we were going to go shopping only to look we would not be buying anything today, but the kids could get ideas of the gifts they wanted to get and price them. They asked how much to anticipate for taxes and were also encouraged to leave room in their budget for wrapping paper and tape.
They were sooooo cute! We made it to the toy section of Walmart. Caleb suggested starting at one end so we could go through each row, so we did that. They brought their notebooks and were jotting down notes, make lists and adding up the numbers. Then we moved on to the movies, craft section, and even the shoes. Hannah had her eye on a pair of church shoes (she currently doesn’t have any so that may be a good idea for us parents.) for the most part the two older ones were very focussed and excited about the things they were finding to get each other. Eve was good too but she was picking out mostly things that she would like for her. She will need a little more help. We then made a stop at Hobby Lobby. I didn’t go in because Eve was sleeping in the car but Chad and the big kids went in for clay to make ornaments.
When we got home we ate dinner. Hannah cleared the table and Chad got some small nails from his tool box. We haven’t put up anything in any of our apartments and we will probably pay for putting the small holes in the wall, but having a little Christmas decoration seems worth it now at least. Chad and I hung the stockings while the kids worked on their ornaments.
Hannah decided to make a nativity instead. She did a good job.
Chad played Christmas songs for us on the tin whistle and the kids made up dances while we waited for the ornaments to bake.
The kids went to bed a little late. Watching their energy and enthusiasm as well as their holiday gift giving little spirits has helped me come to have more of a Christmas spirit. God called us to love others. Thinking of ways to love those around you with gifts takes us out of self focused, survival, it’s all about me that is so natural to human kind and reminds us that JOY is really not about us at all it’s about having your priorities strait. J-Jesus, O-others, then Y-you. Thank you Jesus for sending your son to earth to die for our sins. Thank you for calling us to love our neighbors knowing full well that the true joy we have in serving you would come from those two most important commandments to love the Lord and Love our neighbors.