However, the more time that passed, the more I felt compelled to "publish" this post. I think maybe that is because things I say in this post are things many people are feeling, but, like me, didn't feel it was "appropriate" to share on a blog.
So, for what it is worth, here is my most recent post.
Like everyone, the economy "issue" has changed Christmas for us the past few years, and this year we are again changing our Christmas up. I like the change this year is bringing, but it is still something to get used to. We are not buying gifts this year. I never did like the idea of Christmas being about presents, but because I have the most WONDERFUL parents in the WORLD (and I will fight that to the end! LOL!), Christmas never was "about" the gifts we received. It was, however, important that we GIVE a lot at Christmas.
A stocking hanger we bought when I was young. I remember one year when I was about 4 years old, we learned there was a family living nearby who was not having a Christmas. They had small children at home, but Santa was unable to visit them that year.
Taiger fell asleep waiting to put up the Christmas tree. As we opened our Christmas gifts, we placed many of them into a large box, and when the box was full to overflowing, we all piled in our Dodge Ram Charger and hauled the box to this family's house. We were so excited and tried to be sneaky about our gift drop-off. My sister and I lay down in the back seat so the family wouldn't see and recognize us. (We decided my brother, who was about 1 at the time, could remain sitting, as the children would think he was an elf! We were silly kids!). My Dad carried the box to the door, rang the doorbell and ran back to the car. We sped away so they would think the box was from Santa, but I remember peeking over the edge of the window and seeing two small faces peering out the front window of the house, wondering who was driving away after ringing the bell. I believed they would think our red Dodge was Santa's sleigh.
Taiger helping NaiNai put lights on the tree.
Yes, the giving has ALWAYS been important in our house...it is what Christmas has ALWAYS been about. And that is why this year is so hard. Not because we all WANT gifts, but because we want to GIVE gifts. We each HAVE enough...we wanted to GIVE. The last thing Taiger needs is ONE MORE TOY!...but I was so excited for Christmas to give him something! My Mom and Bryttan have been so wonderful all year to help me, to tend Taiger, to take me to school every day...I wanted to GIVE them gifts to show them my gratitude and love. My Dad, brother, little sister, friends, neighbors, people who have taught me, long-lost friends with whom I have been reunited...these people are IMPORTANT to me, and I want to give them something to show them how much I love and appreciate them.
The thing I am learning this year, is that there is more to give than physical gifts. I always knew it. I always believed it. But I never was in a situation where I had to use "those" kinds of gifts. Giving someone a nice, wrapped up gift IS easier than cleaning their room, doing dishes, or spending hours talking to them (when you would rather be doing something else). The gifts that come in boxes are WAY easier to give. SO...THIS year, I am trying out the other kind of gifts. It has been a LOT harder!
Taiger making Christmas cookies with Aunt Bryttan and Soon-To-Be Uncle Michael
It also has been harder to get in the spirit of Christmas. Something about shopping, hearing the Christmas music, seeing the decorations, gets me in the Christmas spirit! Even more than that, getting EXCITED when I buy a special present for someone, something I KNOW they will love, gets me excited for Christmas! It reminds me of how much God must have been "excited" at giving us the gift of His son, so we could return to live with Him in Heaven, so we could repent and overcome the bands of death. At the same time, I am learning even more the value of Christ's gift to us. It would have been easier for him to just hand out items to people. But the giving Christ did was in the way He lived His life, His service, His time, and then, ultimately, in giving His life, and then in being resurrected. Giving this way brings us even MORE in tune with the spirit of Christmas, and will, I am sure, help me even better realize the gift-giving we celebrate at Christmas time.
The person who has received my gift so far this year is Taiger. I will admit this here...spending time with Taiger is hard for me! I mean, we are ALWAYS together....always, so just BEING with him is no big deal. But actually putting down the homework, the computer, the phone...walking away from what I am doing to just BE with him is hard for me. So, that is what I am giving him this year. We have made Christmas tree ornaments, gone to see Santa and hung around the mall doing nothing for an hour afterward. We have watched Christmas movies and spent time doing NOTHING. It is hard for me, when I have work to do, ads to place, phones to answer...but it is my gift to him, and I don't half give gifts.
I am not quite sure how I will give everyone else their gifts from me this year. Will it be in time? Service? In doing something I REALLY don't want to do, like cleaning a room or washing dishes? When the situation presents itself, I will know that it is time for me to give my Christmas gift to them. In the mean time, I am trying to keep my heart open, my wallet closed and my spirit full of Christmas.
Mary, Joseph and Jesus figurines from Taiger's Nativity set.