christmas gifts

It’s funny how, as you grow older (and yet of course, not out of your twenties), you just don’t care about getting gifts any more. Don’t get me wrong. It is enjoyable to receive gifts and I do have an Amazon wish list (specifically for my mother), but it’s only because certain individuals my mother won’t let me get out of getting gifts any time the occasion would call for it.

But, what you learn is, gifts don’t have to come wrapped in packages with shiny bows. None of my gifts actually ever have bows. I’m just not a bow person. Anyway, this Christmas, my favorite gifts were not anything that I could wear another day or use later in the kitchen (yes, I did ask for small appliances).

I remember as a kid waking up in the wee hours of Christmas morning begging and pleading with my parents to open gifts from Santa. They made me wait until at least 6:30 and (when I was old enough) a pot of coffee was made. With CJ, he’s spoiled rotten and that isn’t required. I couldn’t even con him into a Keurig brew! He first woke at 4:30. I told him it was too early. He bugged me again around 5:00 and I told him we should call his dad to see if he was up and wanted to open gifts with us. So, CJ started unwrapping around 5:40 which was soooooooooo late. The horror.

Everything about his excitement was just so precious. I recorded him coming into my room and telling me how Santa ate the cookies, drank the milk and played with his iPad. Santa had to leave him a special note. Then, as he opened his stocking, he became fixated on this “ploop” substance Santa thought would be funny. It’s been a huge hit around here. And, he excitedly raised in the air the first gift of Christmas (which he shortly thereafter traded for another gift).

IMG_0226_FB IMG_0231_FB IMG_0241_FB After I attempted pancakes without eggs or mix (leading to the pancake meltdown of Christmas morning, 2013), Connor went to hang out with his dad and see his Grandma A. who had to spend Christmas in the hospital. I was super happy to know that he spent time with her that day as well. A gift, indeed.

When I picked him up, we went to visit my grandma. I honestly had a great time visiting her in her new digs at the medical facility. She had to move very recently because she needs some extra help getting around. The good news is, she doesn’t seem to mind. Again, here, I was reminded of the gifts I’ve been given. I watched Connor and my mom snuggle. I watched my dad make sure Grandma had an opportunity to talk to as many of her kids as he could reach. And, I watched her. She’s not the same person she used to be. And that’s okay. She’s still Grandma. And she’s still precious, and likes to chuckle, and she always tells me she misses me and she loves me, even if she has trouble remembering my name .She is a gift. She’s the last grandparent I have.

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As I drove to my parents, I was able to take in the absolutely beautiful snow that blanketed the countryside. Specifically, this road.

tree hug

tree hug

It’s one of my very favorites in the winter because it just feels like the trees are hugging you as you go. I was thankful for that, too, because I was standing in the middle of the road taking photos which may or may not have been a great idea.

We gathered at my parents’ house to open gifts and stuff our faces and we began with a tradition that, for me at least, started with my grandpa … reading the story of Jesus’ birth. This year, my dad had the kids do it and I was filled with pride watching him watch them and then listening to my sweet soon read his part. He did amazingly well. A precious gift.
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And the wrapped gifts. I had so much fun watching those I hold most dear open the gifts that I really wanted them to love. This year, my favorites were photos. I gave my broseph a photo of his beloved dog, Gunner. We also snuck out one frigid Sunday after church to take photos for my mom, too, to add to a new wall collage. That was my favorite gift. She cried. I love making people cry.
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I’m sad Christmas is over. It’s always a special day, and it really does have a lot to do with the gifts. But, I like to think the gift-giving doesn’t need to end there and they certainly don’t have to be wrapped and presented on Christmas (or birthdays). We can give gifts year-round, every day if we feel like it as a matter of fact. I think of the one resident who happened to snag Connor for a hug (three times) as we were leaving the medical facility. Those hugs from that handsome little boy He was her gift that Christmas day; I have no doubt. I figure if you find ways to keep giving, Christmas doesn’t ever really have to end.

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