Monday, December 22, 2008

A little about our Christmas and presents....

First of all, I love Christmas. I wasn't raised celebrating Christmas from a very Biblical perspective so the pattern that I grew up with has been quite a bit different from the different things that I've done to celebrate this very special day with my family. Many of the things I do are not original, I learned many things as a young Christian mother from wonderful Godly women that the Lord allowed me the privilege of knowing. When I was very young, my focus was on lots and lots of presents. I've tried to put more of the focus on the Lord and 'family' with presents being a part of the celebration.

I met a mother once, who had five children and said that the kids got $50 allotted for Christmas to each of them. They could have their parents pick surprise gifts, make specific requests, or pick one thing at that price. (BTW this was about 13 years ago.) She said the interesting thing was that since they had started this system that the children stopped asking for one fancy-name-brand shirt that would take the whole $50!

We have had several years with a similar system. Previous years things have been done differently based on what was affordable. One year, about 12 years ago, I made most of the presents. I made old-fashioned night shirts from a brown and black flannel, a cloth-book about the Christmas story, vests, and a few other things and I picked up several presents from yard sales where like-new goodies were found. (Like a cool green and purple turtle backpack.)

A couple of years, we've had bigger blessings to work with and went all-out. One year we bought every child (yes, all 6) their own guitar, and to share; a brand new big TV for the den and a game system along with several games, and extra controllers.

Most of the last few years, things have been more limited. The kids were allowed to pick 2 "medium" presents or one present up to a certain $ amount. The younger kiddies would pick two, the older kids would pick one 'big' present, usually. That's what we did this year with the oldest getting cash since he's at the teenage-age. You know...gotta try it on...don't know what I want....depends on what's on sale...blah blah blah. :-)

One year we went by that system and ended up getting an extra, unexpected check so we couldn't resist and picked up two more 'surprise' presents.

The biggest part of Christmas is centered around the 'family time'. I try to do similar to my Thanksgiving Feast Meal, and cook up a giant mess of food. After eating, we open presents, and then spend the next couple of days playing together and just hanging out and eating as we get hungry.

This year I cooked a 22 lb turkey, a 9 lb. spiral ham, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, rolls, veggie stick tray (carrots, celery, pea pods, with cheese chunks and dip), dressing, kids made homemade sugar cookies, homemade Pecan Snowball Cookies, baklava, our traditional Birthday for Jesus Cake, 2 apple pies, 1 pumpkin pie, 2 pecan pies, and probably some other things that I can't remember. (The oldest ate nearly 3/4 an apple pie in one setting! But hey...he can't do that every day! ;-)

Another fun thing for the kids is that they have some relatives that usually send them a whopping $50 each! This turns into a very exciting day as they all get to go shop and pick out their own presents with that money. This year, several Webkinz were bought. A very, very favored toy here. ...We were able to catch some sweet deals on these at B.A.M. They had buy one get the second half off on the retired pets and I was able to check out in such a way as to earn coupons - 2 for $5 off. (Yeah! Go mom!) (My nine year old now tells me that Walgreens will be running a sale on the Lil'Kinz, B1G1F.)

Next year, we will likely do all 'surprise' gifts and the children will likely not know what they will be getting for presents. I wanted to do that this year but DH really wanted them to 'have the desire of their heart'! :-)

....I've also incorporated a few more traditions, I'll share more about them soon!

Feel free to share how your family handles Christmas and presents! Etc!

We are still on the busy side so my posts will still be scattered.....I'll tell ya more about the busy side too.....:-)


Anonymous said...

I love how you do Christmas and presents. It's so wise and fun! I, too, grew up with 'Christmas = Presents' and want my children to know the joys of Christ with presents as just one of the many ways we show our love to each other. My girls are still quite little and Santa does visit us. Each year Santa will bring one super special year long admired toy or musical instrument(as has been the case for the past 2 years) and 2 or 3 other small gifts (with socks,underwear and treaties as stocking stuffers). My husband and I give the girls a pair of new pjs on Christmas eve night and an ornament with their name on it on Christmas morning. I also give each girl a book with a love letter on the first few pages. We are blessed to have family close by and have grandparents and great grandparents over for Christmas breakfast. We haven't had a birthday cake for Jesus (yet!!!), but after breakfast we blow out the advent candles (like a birthday cake) and watch them open gifts. The rest of the day is spent enjoying each other's company, eating, and of course napping, followed by dinner (at Nana's house) with aunts, uncles, and cousins. I love hearing about how you and your family spend the holidays and the special ways you honor God in your home. As always, looking forward to your next blog! Merry Christmas!

Sonshine said...

That was an interesting read seeing how your family does Christmas. :)

My hubby and I do the $50 per kid system. It is getting a little harder though to do with my oldest getting into the teenage years. :) My hubby is pretty adament that we don't get clothes for the kids as those are things that they *need* so that puts an added twist to things.

The last few years my MIL has just sent us $$ for Christmas to get the kids and ourselves gifts. Some of the years she has been very generous while other years not so much but I see it as a blessing and not an expectation.

Thanks for stopping by! :) Yes we are going to have a VERY white Christmas! The funny thing is that they are forecasting rain and temps in the 40s for the weekend! So that is going to cause some MAJOR flooding here in MI. :)

Rona's Home Page said...

We do something different every year.
This year we decided to just buy for our son. He's 16 years old and didn't have a long list.
My husband and I decided to spend time together. We even had manicures together.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Organized Nutrition said...

that was great reading how you do christmas!
Usually we spend a certain $ amount... around $30-40 each child, and then $25 or so from that jolly man (I wish we didn't have to do him, but DH really wants to, I on the other hand, DO NOT!)
Santa always throws hershey kiss's all over the house and leaves a sweatshirt for each of them....
I think next year because the youngest will be 3 1/2, we will have them DRAW names with eachother and do the secret santa... the kids with allowance (which will be 3 of them) will have to use SOME of their money and some of ours to buy the gifts for the other kid... we will give the youngest her money.
I know BIG families who just ALL DRAW names... and even the mom and dad just buy presents for the one their drew!