the first gifts that are opened on christmas morning are our gifts to Jesus. we give the kids $100 and the World Vision catalog and let them buy gifts for others that have needs that we can help meet. this is the best way we know how to teach them to love and give Jesus tangibly.
we didn't open gifts last christmas. we opened them the day after. i loved it and would continue it that way. but i knew that pat and the kids would do it gladly if they had to, but they'd all prefer a more traditional christmas morning ;-)
because we spent a lot less this year, i was open to trying it "the old way." i prepared my heart, and it was a great day. i desire for it to be a day where i feel close to Jesus, but i think i realized, it's just not going to be. i have PLENTY of days where He's so close and precious to me. but a day where we focus on STUFF is not going to be a day that feels very holy. it WAS a day full of happiness and love and excitement. and that's ok, i guess ;-) i'm glad we can give that to our kids. it's not going to be my favorite day of the year. but it IS theirs...and i enjoyed making that happen!
the day after christmas was AWESOME. ;-) i went for a long run, and then we took ALL the christmas decorations down! the tree was on the curb and all the boxes put away by the end of the day. plus we worked more on the basement. now THAT'S my kind of day!! i LOVE the feeling of my house after all the christmas decorations are put away - it feels so clean and fresh!
the next day, we threw a party for our kids. we had realized that they had watched us throw a couple parties that month...had helped clean the house and prepare for it...and watched us entertain and enjoy and do white elephant gift exchanges with tons of laughter...while they were tucked away watching a movie. we wanted to do that FOR THEM.
so we got some fun food for appetizers...
a couple nights later, we took them all ice-skating. half of them loved it, half of them hated it. we weren't surprised. pat and i watched with hot tea in our hands. it was still a fun night.
it was a GOOD 2 weeks. full of sweet memories and lots of time together. we were ALL sad it was ending...even me, which is saying a lot!! :-)