Growing up in a large family we knew that there would not be a huge amount a presents under the tree for each of us. We got something Mom and Dad made for us. We got one big Santa present. We got something we needed. There were small presents we had gotten for each other. In our stockings we had an orange in the toe, a life saver book, a small toy and some odds and ends. We always got a new Springbok puzzle for the family to work on during the holidays. The focus was on God and family. We never felt deprived or disappointed as we spent the day enjoying our loot.
Whoa! Too Much
Fast forward several years and it is a totally different Christmas experience. I am married and we have two little girls. We go over to Grandad’s for Christmas day and there are presents everywhere. After two hours of opening presents the girls are board and frustrated. They haven’t been able to play with a single toy yet. There was cajoling and bribery to get them to open all those presents. The joy and excitement wore off quickly. There were so many clothes and toys that the girls just didn’t even know where to start. There were some hurt feelings because people felt that this or that present was unappreciated. I had to explain to them that so many presents had been given that the girls were overwhelmed and tired from opening them all. I actually requested fewer gifts in the future.
I have instituted my family gift giving traditions with my children. I make something special designed just for them. Santa brings one gift which is usually the most begged for. There are gifts from Grandmas, Grandpas, siblings, etc. that make up the rest. Stockings have a chocolate orange, favorite candies, a small toy or two and some odds and ends.
Giving Is Much More Fun Than Getting
We spend a lot of time talking about what to get for each member of the family. Special trips to pick out just the right things are planned. Waiting for the right time to wrap each gift so that it won’t be seen. Those sweet holiday secrets that we carry around all month. Come Christmas morning we are often more excited to watch the gifts we’ve given be opened than we are to open our own.
From the Heart
I have spent several weeks now working on making gifts for my children and grandchildren. I still have a few left to make, but I am so excited to see these sweet little open them. I always start of simple, but then . . . . I always laugh at myself as I change this and that to make it more personal to each child. Here are some things that I have made for my children and grandchildren.
LadyBug Mittens attached to Scarf & hat
BumbleBee Mittens attached to scarf & hat
Newborn flower hat with butterfly
Stained glass afghan