Hometown Holiday

I had a very important date last night…several of them, really. And I thought that maybe I should tell you about it, because, well, really, we talk about most things, don’t we?

Last night I took my four boys Christmas shopping. They each had to shop for one of their brothers. I didn’t limit their spending, I didn’t limit their choices, and it was worth every minute and every dime.

We live in a small, rural community. We have a few stores, but nothing extravagant…yet we had a blast. Let me replay the evening:

Nothing beats a great hometown store...nothing. I've been shopping here for more than 30 years.

Nothing beats a great hometown store…nothing. I’ve been shopping here for more than 30 years.

I went to take Scooter to basketball practice, only to realize that practice was an hour later than I was expecting. No problem, we’ll get some Christmas shopping out of the way at Village Variety. Scooter’s job was to pick one brother, and to buy a gift. He picked Big Bro, found something that “he would love.” We paid for it, had it wrapped and were on our way.

I dropped Scooter off at my Mom’s, and picked up EJ. He picked George. We found a gift, had it wrapped and were on our way.

George met me at the door, ready to go. He knew he was going to go shopping for a gift, and he wanted to buy one for EJ. He already knew what to get him, so we picked it up, had it wrapped (found a little extra something for Grandma), and were on our way.

A happy boy, with his gift for his brother all wrapped and ready for the tree!

A happy boy, with his gift for his brother all wrapped and ready for the tree!

Last, but certainly not least, was Big Bro. He knew that the only brother left was Scooter to buy for, but he also knew what Scooter would want. We picked it up, had it wrapped and were on our way. Voila. Shopping complete.

Big Bro had to carefully determine what Scooter would want. No rushing a well-thought-out gift!

Big Bro had to carefully determine what Scooter would want. No rushing a well-thought-out gift!

And it was the best trip EVER!

Here are the lessons I learned:

  • It truly doesn’t matter what you buy, it’s why you buy it. And if it DOES matter what you buy, you shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. Love isn’t shown with the amount spent, it’s shown with the meaning behind it.
  • A friendly face, a word or two of encouragement to my children and knowing that I’m supporting a local family goes a long way.
  • My children know that my love is not depicted by the number (or grandeur) of the gifts they receive. We do not count gifts in this house. If you are so wrapped up in the gift-giving that you set guidelines, parameters and dollar amounts…well, I think you forgot what the point was for giving the gift. (And I’m not talking budget limitations.)
  • The best gifts I have ever received (aside from my children, naturally), are those that showed how much someone was paying attention: a lasagna pan (I love to cook for my family, and lasagna is my specialty), a necklace that one of my boys picked out, anything that my boys have made, etc. It’s not the amount spent, it’s the “why” behind it. 🙂
  • I am most certain that my boys will follow in my footsteps and will enjoy the giving just as much, if not more than, the receiving. And in that aspect, I feel as if I’ve succeeded as a parent. Yay!

It was a great night, indeed…and in case I get busy and don’t write for a few days again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my heart to yours. (And yes, I meant that.)

Angel Project Update

So, is there any good coming of this Christmas Angel Project? Well, I happen to think so. So far, I have matched up 15 different requests/angels…and hoping to keep it up for another 10 days.

Remember, you have until Dec. 15 to make a request on behalf of someone, or to volunteer to be a Christmas Angel yourself.

It’s the season for giving, right?

Yes, Virginia…

I knew it would happen one day, but this one was a doozy…and I’m thinking someone may end up paying for it with her job.

Apparently a news anchor expressed her opinion during prime time that the easiest way to handle Christmas in these tough economic times was to tell children that there is no Santa Claus. Wow. I’m guessing the big guy’s gonna have some coal for someone’s stocking this year.

Now, as a mother of four children, oldest age 9, I’m constantly bombarded by the question, “Mom, is Santa real?” And my answer is always the same, “What do you want to believe?”

To me, the answer is simple. In a day when we are hit with so much bad news, so much doom and gloom, so many heart aches and issues, why do we need to pop the bubble of happiness that surrounds the Christmas season? Yes, my children know that celebrating Christmas is ALL about the birth of Jesus and what He has sacrificed for us. Christmas is a religious holiday in our house. Always has been, always will be. But does believing that someone delivers a gift for you, without expecting anything in return, all that different?

My children have never been told that a man in a red suit and reindeer is at our house. We don’t have a fireplace, and cookies aren’t always left. Sometimes we’re home, and sometimes we’re not. They know that the Santa’s in the mall are not the “real” Santa. And whatever else they have made up in their mind, is just that, their own beliefs.

Telling the world during the newscast that the solution to your financial woes at Christmas is to break your children’s hearts and tell them that the mystery surrounding Christmas is fake…well, that’s just plain mean. And I can tell you for a fact that it’s not true. There is a Santa Claus. He might not live at the north pole, he might not like cookies and he may be allergic to reindeer fur, but he’s real and he’s important and he lives inside each and every one of us.

And if you don’t believe it, then why would a woman from North Dakota set up a project to send gifts to and from people all around the country? (Speaking of which, click on the blue angel in the top right corner…I’m looking for more angels!) Why would a company set up red kettles throughout the country, knowing that others will give when they can? And why would children willingly give up their gifts, to another child that they know would appreciate it more?

God and santa CAN coexist…I’m pretty sure both big guys are OK with that. I know I am.