Friday Favorite

I know that it is early to start talking about Christmas, but Christmas eve the best day of the year at our house, and I wanted to share some of the family traditions that have made it so special.  We started when the kids were young trying to think of ways to help them think about how to give on Christmas and not get caught up in the unhappiness of wanting too much.  So we encouraged them to give presents to each other and us, and we turned Christmas Eve into the children’s giving event.  We start the evening by caroling, then we come back to the house and have a middle-eastern dinner to remind us of the food that the Savior may have eaten.  After dinner we read the Christmas story together (we used to act it out for years and years.  Gloria Jean was always Mary.  Angela was the angel, and Brian was often the donkey.  Ben was the innkeeper one year, but his heart was so soft that he let Joseph and Mary have a room for the night.)  Then the magic begins with the children’s gifts.  Each child has a special time to give the gifts that he or she has made (or bought if necessary).  We start with a round of appreciations for each giver-of-the-gifts in turn.  Everybody in the family tells about why they love this child.  Sometimes they bring up their favorite memory of this person from the year.  When everybody has given an appreciation, then the child gives out his/her presents one by one, explaining why they chose it, and showing the recipient how the gift works.  This is such a magical experience.  Everyone in the family feels surrounded by love.  And the spirit is so sweet that we do feel like we are in a little heaven-on earth.  Christmas morning, when the children receive the parents’ gifts, always seems like an afterthought.  The children are so much more excited about what they are giving than what they are getting, and the excitement infuses the house with hidden secrets and plans and works weeks before the magic evening arrives.  This special night of giving and receiving love infuses the family interactions with security and well-being for months.  The kind of presents the children give have changed a lot over the years, but we always know that appreciations and giving bring a fullness of spirit to fill our home.

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One Response to “Friday Favorite”

  1. Nancy Says:

    What a wonderful idea, we’re going to try that this year.

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