Let’s go back to the green shag carpeting and the tree so painstakingly put together by my parents. Cue Christmas Eve. Children’s church service is over and we have headed to my grandparents to exchange Christmas gifts with all of the family. During the middle of the meal my mom suddenly forgets something she forgot at home. Off she goes, covering the few miles between their house and ours. She’s gone for what seems like hours. Upon her return presents are opened. After the opening of family gifts it is WAY past our bedtime. Time to head for home. We walk into our house to find things are messy. Tinsel from the tree is spread throughout the house. We just missed Santa… again… We missed him last year too! Likely will just barely miss him again next year. But he’s left gifts under the tree and we get to look at them before heading off to dreamland. It took me quite a few years before I realized that my mom mysteriously forgot something at home every single Christmas and that we always just missed Santa. Amazing the coincidence 🙂
The traditions at our house are different but the thought and love is still behind it all.
The first gift of Christmas so to speak is opened on Christmas eve and it’s always new pajamas to wear to bed that night. Initially the boys are always bummed that they don’t get a toy. But, they have come to expect the new jammies and goodness knows they always need them!
We start our evening with Christmas Eve mass and discussion of the true meaning of Christmas. Then we get together with family to celebrate the holiday. We exchange gifts with aunts, uncles and cousins. So much playing is going on, so much fun and joy to be had. If the celebration is not at our house we pack up WAY past bed times and travel home where sweet little heads are placed gently in beds.
*Morning* comes all too soon – note I said morning, not daylight… Little boys find small gifts hidden under their personal Christmas trees alerting them that the big man himself has come and gone and left behind some goodies. They come into our room with all the excitement that children should have. In our Christmas jammies we find our way downstairs to discover what Santa has left there. Throughout the day presents are opened and played with and more are opened and played with. The celebration lasts throughout the day.
Our favorite gifts of all are not found under our tree on Christmas morning, however. We purchase 3 gifts every year for each of the babies we have in heaven watching over us and donate them to Toys for Tots. The past 2 years the boys have really gotten into it. They think long and hard about the toys that Gracie, Samuel and Spencer would like. They help me catalog shop and sometimes even come with me to the store to pick it out. Often they also help me deliver the toys to a drop of site. We talk throughout all of this about why we are giving to Toys for Tots. We talk about little boys and girls whose mommies and daddies love them but can’t give them toys for Christmas. We talk about little boys and girls whose mommies and daddies can’t be with them anymore. It’s beautiful conversation that helps us to teach them about giving back to help those in need. It also reminds them of how much they have with 2 parents who love them more than anything and would never hurt them. When they are older I would love to have them meet a family that we donate to. It’s such a beautiful feeling to know that you’ve helped make someone else smile.
This season is truly not about the presents. Sharing the day with friends and family is worth more than it’s weight in gold. Giving back to those in need is beyond priceless. But, giving my boys memories of finding that Santa came and opening gifts in their Christmas jammies simply warms my heart.