We have never went overboard on Christmas. For one, well financially, we just can't. And for two, we don't have the space to house everything! But mostly, we want our kiddos to not just think of Christmas as a gift hoarding time of year. My 8YO gets it. My 5YO...still struggling, but learning. It's hard too because his birthday is 2 days before Christmas. But we'll get there, I know it.
And this year, we saw to it that we made a big stride in that direction.
Throughout the year I keep lists on my phone. As I hear or think of things that someone may want, I jot it down. Even if its something as silly as chapstick (which my son loves) or a new sleep mask (hello, Baby Girl). That way when Christmas rolls around they have pure excitement as they open up to things they really wanted but didn't break the bank to get. So on Christmas Eve, they opened their stockings. They both got the afore mentioned items and a new electric toothbrush. I'm telling you...they were happy!
Then, it was time...Christmas morning. We made a rule when I was preggers with Baby Girl that Christmas Day would totally be at home. I didn't wanna ever say, "Here's your new toys and stuff kids, but you can't play with them because we gotta go." But, that doesn't mean people don't come over to our house. And we had folks coming over for breakfast at 9:00. So I set my alarm for 6am and at least got a little cleaned up and in clean PJs (hey...I knew the camera would be out!) My Man did the same and then we started waking kids up. They wanted to dive right in, but we couldn't let it all get started without the obligatory Christmas morning photo!
Um...they REALLY would rather have been opening, can't you tell? And who in the world KNOWS what Sissy Girl was trying to do.
But finally...the present opening began!
It's so funny to me that she opens her presents as Mr. Hyde but then quickly turns into Dr. Jekyl like it's been part of her evil mastermind plan all along!
And yes, Aunt Becky...this has 2 songs from the Hairspray musical on it and yes, we have done them both and yes it will be your turn when you come home.
I had been waiting to see how this gift turned out for months! Baby Boy has pretended for quite some time that he is a super hero called "Super Y". He's seen a PBS Kids cartoon called "Super Why" and I guess that's where he got it from. (Likewise, he calls me Princess Pea when he's Super Y.) Anyway, a friend of mine made him this superhero cape. Do you see the transformation here? The back has a lightening bolt and "Super Y" with his name on it. It IS a treasure.
They opened the rest of their gifts and then gave us ours. We each take a set amount of money and the 2 kids out every year and let them pick anything in the world within budget to purchase for the other parent. My favorite part is the fact that Baby Boy can never keep it a secret. He tells what he knows about the gifts every stinkin time! But this year Baby Girl got me a huge GORGEOUS cross for my cross wall, Baby Boy got me the game Operation and they together got me an awesome blanket. Baby Girl got My Man a laptop cooler (aka something SHE can use like she does every year...ahem...itunes gift card), Baby Boy got him a dart board and they together got him a new wallet.
But then...after all the paper had been shredded and all the parent-proof...uh...child proof boxes were cut open, I had them settle in with me for a few minutes...
A couple of years ago My Man and I were reading a friends blog who was in Uganda with Compassion International. They had included on their post a video that made me so sick at my stomach I could barely breathe and I cried...no sobbed so hard that Baby Girl (6 at the time) came running. She watched the video with us and cried her little eyes out and asked, "Mommy...can we please help them?" Ashamed, I had to tell her no. Our financial situation at the time was not the greatest as we were structuring ourselves to get out of debt that year and you couldn't squeeze blood out of this turnip.
I cried even harder that I had to tell her no.
So, as their "big gift" this year, we sat down and watched more of those videos. She again asked...could we please help them. This time, all Glory to God, I could say yes. She told me she wanted a girl around her age who had been waiting for a while to be sponsored and who lived in an AIDS infested country. So we narrowed the search down to 45 girls who fit what she was looking for. As we read thru profiles one stood out to me, but I waited on her to decide. Then, she asked that we go back to this one. And she said, "Her. I want her. Can we have her?"
And then and there we added another member to our family. Nakkatude, age 9 from Uganda, Africa.
Welcome to the family, Nakkatude!
What a fulfilling Christmas it was.
Wait? Does anyone have something for me? Pweeeeze?