Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas This Year

I wrote this post several days ago, but saved it as a draft and didn't post it. Perhaps I was too prideful. Perhaps I didn't think it was well enough written. Mostly, I think, I believed it divulged "too much information"...not the kind of thing people want to read about when reading a blog...and not the kind of think I usually would share with the entire world. It read more like a journal entry than a blog, and I am the kind of person who likes to keep the two quite separate.

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.

Christmas is coming! Whether we are ready for it or not, it is coming.

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.

And that is what made Christmas un-incredible to me. I believed everything about Christmas. There was no reason, in my mind, that a red Ram would NOT look like a sleigh! If it was believed, it was real. If those children believed Santa had come, then why would what was driving away from their home be anything other than Santa's sleigh?

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.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Today, when I got home from school, I dressed Taiger in his new church suit and we went to see Santa. Taiger was SO excited! Who cares that I was on phones AND ads today? Who cares that finals are Monday and I have a PILE of studying to do? It is Christmas time and Taiger needed to go sit on Santa's lap and remind us both about the MAGIC of Christmas.

I have been talking a LOOOOOT about what Christmas is "all about". I am trying to focus on Christ's birth and less on the receiving of gifts (mostly because I am broke this year, and partly because I don't want that to be his focus every Christmas for the rest of his life....and that is hard, because, as a Mom, I want nothing more than to shower my son with presents. Not only because he "wants" them and would LOVE them, but also because of the joy it gives me to watch his eyes light up, to see him so happy and excited, to see the joy a glittering pile of presents in a room magic with Christmas morning can bring him). So, we have watched some short films put out by our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka: LDS), about the Nativity, the story of Jesus' birth AND His life. We watched "It's A Wonderful Life" (yes, the WHOLE THING...he LOVED it!) and talked about the good feeling it gave us. Anyway, so last night I told he we could go see Santa today, and asked Taiger if it would be okay if Santa brought Taiger just one or two gifts this year. "Two" he said softly. I chuckled, thinking "typical child". Then he added, "One for you and one for me."

So, I brought him today to see Santa.
Waiting at the door to get in to see Santa, who was away...eating cookies and drinking milk, we decided :)
Taiger, when the excitement of seeing Santa simply overwhelmed him...LOVE it when he gets like that!
Have you ever seen a child who looked LESS happy to see Santa? He really was happy...he just doesn't like to show excitement.

After his visit with Santa, we went to the food court and visited over fries and Orange Julious. We spent a long time just sitting there, sipping Raspberry Pina Colada and smiling and laughing and talking. It was so fun to spend time with Taiger with no computer, no ipod, no homework, no phone (okay, so I was SUPPOSED to be answering it...), no other people...just Taiger and me. It was SO nice.

When we got home, I held him while we watched, "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa".

It was a good day. :)