Archives For gifts

The following post I wrote for a friends blog, Miss Banana Pants. Check her site out and enjoy the post!

20111221-133556.jpgIt is officially the holiday season! I love this time of year. I love the winter, the family gatherings, Christmas trees, I pretty much love it all! I have so many great memories during this time of year, and now I am a parent and get to build those lasting memories with my children. I look back at all the memories and traditions I have with my family and get all excited thinking about passing these same things on to my children. But, the one thing I never thought about was that every family has their own traditions, their own favorite way of doing things. Wait, what? We don’t all celebrate Christmas the same way? No, and I learned this from my husband.

I grew up where Santa did not wrap his presents, in fact not all the gifts under the tree were from him either. We had a mixture from him and from our parents, but the ones from him were always unwrapped. This completely shocked my husband. In his family every gift was wrapped and every gift was from Santa. I would be lying if I were to tell you that our conversation about which way was the correct way didn’t get a little heated. (sad I know, but we both could not comprehend the others tradition) Another example of the difference we found was just how we opened gifts Christmas mornings. We have known some friends whose families would all open gifts at the same time. Both of our families took turns and watched each other open gifts. However, my family made a pile for each person at the beginning and we could decide each turn which one we wanted to open. His family would pick one person each year to pass out the gifts, one gift for everyone to open and then would pass out again like this until all were gone.

The more we talked about different traditions we loved and wanted to pass on, the more we realized that some of those traditions we both did growing up, but differently. I knew that not everyone did things the way my family did, but never really cared or thought about it much until the time came to start thinking about my children. What my husband and I learned during this discussion, and the many more that followed was that we have to find a median, AND make sure that the other person doesn’t feel like we are saying that their traditions are less important than ours. We had to decide what things we wanted to take from both of our childhoods to pass on and then we want to come up with our own traditions for our family to start passing on. The important thing is that we create a family tradition, whatever that might be, but something that is ours and for our children to grow up remembering.

Things will not change. Every family will continue to do things differently. As long as my family has beautiful memories that my children love and that they are shocked to find out later that not all families celebrate Christmas like our family, I know then that we have done a good job. We will have created a legacy that they will find a way to incorporate into their families one day. So, have you started making a legacy for your family?

 

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” Burton Hillis

So many people are stressing about Christmas. What gifts to buy, budgets and will it be enough? I too have been a part of the group stressing about Christmas and budgets. But why? Does it honestly matter if I spend a lot of money on a gift or take the time to make something from scratch? Don’t they both say that I love the person it is going to and spent time thinking about something unique to give them? I’m sure I am not the only one to believe that Christmas has become commercialized and that retailers have made it into a great way for people to spend more than they usually would or can afford just to buy for loved ones. It’s not about the gifts. But the commercialized side of Christmas can make that point hard to remember.

Every other commercial right now is a holiday one with new sale prices, new gadgets and special holiday hours. It’s hard trying to stay balanced and not be taken in by it all. Chase and I have talked more than once about what we want to do to be able to make sure that our family has a fun Christmas every year but also with out it being all about the gifts. One thing I know that we have talked about doing is a special Christmas donation every year to our sponsor child we have through Compassion International. Hopefully this will be a good start to keeping the focus more on others and not so much on ourselves. Of course Eli is only a year old so we have plenty of time to come up with more traditions for our family.

I am by no means trying to be negative or a downer. We want to celebrate and enjoy Christmas just as much as everyone else. I just hate when we get stressed about what we will buy everyone. I don’t want to forget that Christmas is not all about the gifts, but that we should celebrate Jesus’ birth and show His love to every one we meet! So this year one thing we are doing to be a little less commercialized is we are brainstorming ideas to do more homemade gifts with a lot of love built-in!

Photo Credit: Shimelle Laine

It’s December 1st. I love this month and today I decided to share my Top 10 reasons I love December!

  1. Christmas 
  2. Christmas is also my husband’s birthday
  3. Reading the birth of Jesus every Christmas morning with our family
  4. Christmas parties
  5. Peppermint mochas (technically you can get these anytime but they taste so much better in December!)
  6. Going to look at Christmas lights
  7. Having a pretty Christmas tree in the living room to look at
  8. Seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they open their gifts
  9. Christmas music
  10. Christmas Eve church services
Photo Credit: Scott D. Feldstein

Blessed By Family

June 23, 2011 — Leave a comment

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  Desmond Tutu

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.”  Anthony Brandt

What a blessing family is! A week ago today my nephew was born. Everyone is healthy and doing great and now our family has grown that much more! I have always been a family person. Growing up my mom and I would always have days where it was just the two of us that would go out grab some lunch and just spend some time together. Family only gets better as it grows, at least I think so. Now not only do I have the wonderful family I grew up with, but I have the wonderful one I married into and the amazing one my husband and I started with our son. The great thing about family is that they see you at all points in life, from points of laughter to points of tears and they love you all the same. You never have to be some one you are not. I look forward to the get togethers we will have as our children all grow older and play together. I loved those times when I was a kid. We are starting it early though if you can’t tell, the picture is of “tummy time” with the two boys, cousins who look nothing alike :) There are so many things to be thankful for in life but one thing is for sure, I am so thankful for the blessing of my family!

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck

Our Wednesday night life group (aka small group) started last week a study on the motivational gifts. These are different from the spiritual gifts we have but are complimentary. The motivational gifts we have are given to us at birth by God to everyone, not just Christians. The use of these gifts however are much different in a Christian versus a non-Christian. What I think is so great about this study is that it really helps to explain why we do the things we do, why we act, say and feel the way that we do. It also helps give us perspective on the people around us, helping us to understand them better. In the study it also talks about how it can be helpful for parents to better raise their children because they will be able to understand their child’s thinking better. So much is wrapped up in these gifts. Our motives, choice of career, thoughts, actions and words are all derived from our gift. For me, the thought that God specifically gave each of us a special gift from the moment we were born speaks volume to the love that He has for us! Not only that, it magnifies the truth that we are all designed for a purpose, His purpose. Whatever God has called each of us to do would not be possible without the gifts that He has given us, it makes us who we are. So, who am I? I am God’s child, I am a wife and mother, I am a server and exhorter, I am designed for a specific purpose that He has given only to me. Who are you?