Christmas Morning (though not technically)

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, we decided a few weeks prior that we would do our traditional Christmas morning events on Christmas Eve.

We always start out by having the boys come to our room where we discuss the meaning of Christmas and why we even have a day a year we celebrate.  We read the story from Luke and remind them that, while they’re getting presents, we believe that the gifts are not the focus of our celebrations.  Just before we head to the living room to see what goodies await, we sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

This year, we added the reminder that we had decided as a family to “give away” our Christmas. We had decided that the money we would have spent on each other would be spent making someone else’s life better.  We reminded them of the money Hayden had given to help a family adopt their child; of the money the rest of us had given to help families in third-world countries.  Carson and Bailey and had given to give goats and chickens to a family, Parker and I had given to help provide orphan care, and Matt had given to help build wells.  We reminded them that they were not to expect much under the tree and they were fine with that.  They were still excited to receive anything, and they even said, “We know there aren’t a lot of presents and we’re okay with that.”

Little did they know that the gifts under our tree had multiplied to take up the entire living room!  People had offered toys to us that they were going to take to the thrift store and we jumped on the opportunity.  Especially as one of our boys is particularly fond of knights and castles!  In addition to those gifts the boys had received money from grandparents and so I had gone shopping to get some things they had seen in the toy store.

I felt sort of strange with all the gifts in our home because part of me had wanted it to look bare to the boys.  I had imagined them coming out, seeing a mostly-empty room, and opening a few gifts.  Instead, this was possibly the Christmas they’ve received the most gifts.  We told them in our time before we left our room that God always blesses a giving heart.  Sometimes He blesses giving hearts with immediate blessings like things, money, or peace.  Other times the blessings are not received for years and years.  We told them we want them to grow up and have giving and generous hearts and to look for God’s blessings in their lives that are a result of their giving.

After they opened all their gifts and were sitting knee-deep in toys we reminded them again that this time the Lord blessed them immediately for their giving hearts but there will be times that they will give to others and not see an immediate return.  We also reminded them that sometimes the return is not in physical things but in a sense of satisfaction and peace in doing something for others.

It was a wonderful morning and I’m thankful for such a wonderful time with our sweet family.

Below are the pictures I didn’t expect to be posting.  Like I said, when we decided to give away our Christmas I thought we’d end up having pictures that displayed a very small selection of gifts.  We are blown away.

I need to remember NO HATS on Christmas morning! I barely got any pictures of Hayden's face!

Tape. Three happy boys.

When the boys saw the castle set they said, “J and A have this set!  COOL!”  and a few minutes later they said, “Is this J and A’s set?”  I told them how we came about getting it and they were thrilled.  I had wondered how they’d feel about receiving a used toy as a gift but they were perfectly fine with it.  It was a proud-mama moment.

Matt opening his Christmas gift (the one he ordered himself so he'd get what he wanted).

Matt made these for me!

Hayden opening money to go toward a toy gun.

I’m uploading video of our morning.  If I find some footage that is worth sharing, it’ll be in a new post and I’ll link to it from here!

Merry Christmas!  (I know it’s January 7th but I still want to say Merry Christmas!)

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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7 Responses to Christmas Morning (though not technically)

  1. Candace says:

    What a wonderful family! Ray and I had a wonderful first Christmas together. However we can’t wait for the day that we get to tell our Children about the real reason for celebrating. Ray would also love to follow in our foot steps and have SO many boys…

    Parker looked so sweet in all the shots, just watching and enjoying every moment!

  2. Pam M. says:

    Loved reading about your special Christmas celebration!! What a great way to share Christmas and for the boys to see too how God does bless a generous heart!

  3. Crystal S says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Looks like you all had a wonderful Christmas! I had a questions that I hope you don’t mind giving your input on. We found out that we will be going to Grafenwoehr instead of Wiesbaden. We have twins and have a couple double strollers. I’ve heard people say that it’s good to have a jogger stroller in Europe because of the roads. We have a double BOB stroller for our twins and I love it, but I was wondering if we will be able to use it since spaces are tighter over there, etc. I know you guys have travelled to a lot of places over there and we are planning to travel as much as we can, so I was wondering if we’d be able to utilize the double BOB or not. Thank you for any input you can provide! Crystal S.

    • Jennifer says:

      I would hold on to that BOB for dear life. Do not let it go. EVER! I don’t have one and wish I did. I know it’s wide but you’ll just have to make do. To be honest, my single jogger is too wide to go some places and we just figure out a way. One will go in the store and then we swap. If you get here and decide you don’t like the double, you can make a killing selling it here. I’m telling you… you will not regret having it! 🙂

      I can give your email address to a friend who also has twins and a BOB stroller if you want to ask her more specific questions. Sorry you won’t be coming here but I do have a friend at Graf I can introduce you to, when you get there. Let me know if you want me to pass on your email address to my friend with twins.

  4. Crystal S says:

    Thank you! That was the answer I was hoping for! I love the stroller & really did not want to get rid of it, especially because of how much it cost, but also because it’s so easy to push & the kids love it! I put a post on the ‘Americans in Wiesbaden’ FB page & got the same answers. Also, the moderator of that page directed me to the ‘Grafenwoehr/Vilseck Army Wives’ FB page, which I had not seen before, & I asked on there as well & everyone said to keep it! So I will definitely be bringing it! That would be great if you would pass my email address along (cmstranton@yahoo.com). I appreciate any advice that can be passed along! Hopefully after we are there for awhile I can be on the giving end of the advice! I hope you & your family are doing well & you all have a wonderful new year!

    • Jennifer says:

      The moderator of the Americans in Wiesbaden page is really nice! I wish I knew who the man behind the curtain is. Or woman. 🙂 Extremely helpful and friendly! Have fun on your new adventure!

  5. Pingback: Christmas Day, 2011 | thehamricks

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