We have traveled every year for Christmas, but it is important to us to create our own traditions. Last year we celebrated our Jackson family Christmas after New Years. This year we had Christmas on December 19. For our Christmas Eve we had a candlelit dinner and talked about Jesus Christ’s influence on our life this year. We put the kids to bed and got to work setting up for the morning.
This year we wrapped all of our presents in free newspaper remnants and red string that will probably last a lifetime. Our economical solution fulfilled a lifelong dream of brown paper packages tied up with string! I arranged everything under the tree while Andrew prepared stockings.
We also had to include a focus on Andrew’s present and it’s cleverly designed wrapping.
When the kids woke up in the morning they patiently waited upstairs while I started a load of laundry (diapers just can’t wait!). Emily was full of excited giggles as she came down the stairs and discovered stockings. Both kids were really excited about their oranges. Nathan was really excited that his water cup fit in the stocking and put it in and out a number of times.
We paused to read the books that were set out by the stockings. Nathan was really really hungry so Andrew slipped him a piece of chocolate. He loved it and seriously ate it until it was gone and brown was all over his hands and face.
Emily was able to find gifts under the tree for everyone looking for the first letters of everyone’s name. She did not hesitate in opening her own gifts and was happy to help Nathan with his. He was more interested in putting other things into the wrapping paper or pulling his present in and out than playing with his new things. Emily made sure we didn’t get stalled for too long. Nathan also made sure to keep things tidy by handing us the paper he did rip off.
Andrew’s sister Hannah is on a mission in Alaska right now. She had us for Christmas this year and sent us some incredible gifts all the way from Alaska – socks for Emily, an alaskan knife, sourdough starter, a moose ornament, and raw honey sticks. Her thoughtfulness and generosity were humbling and touching.
We didn’t get too far into opening presents before Nathan could think of nothing but food – particularly chocolate now that he’s had a taste of it. Emily really didn’t want to stop for breakfast, so we pulled out our Let’s Playground mat (now gathre) and had a Christmas picnic. Andrew opened his much anticipated gift: The Everyday Backpack while the kids ate.
Nathan was as excited about the packing materials as Andrew was about his backpack!
We returned to kids opening gifts, enjoying each one as they unwrapped it. Emily received a notebook and crayons from Grandma Blomquist. She and Nathan immediately sat down to write. Nathan enjoyed playing with his toy truck, rolling it back and forth. We got Emily a harmonica but we should have gotten two – Emily and Nathan both love playing it constantly.
My present this year was an exercise bike so I can continue cardio workouts when it is too cold to take the kids out for a run. Andrew insisted we didn’t need to put the big box under the tree and surprised me with a model bike, carefully crafted in secret with the kids. He also assembled the bike bike for me after we were done opening presents.
The part Andrew and I were most excited about was watching the kids open their curvy boards. Emily and Nathan took to them immediately. In the first 24 hours of play they have been crawled under, over, rocked on, spun around and around on, turned into a bed, a baby doll crib, a writing desk, a cashier spot, a rocket ship, and a tunnel. Success!
The most humbling part of Christmas was the secret santa gift that was dropped on our door step a few weeks earlier. We were amazed when we opened it to discover very personal and generous gifts. It brought the spirit of gratitude and the desire to give more into our little Christmas morning. Thank you, secret Santa, for your example of generously giving.