Sunday, December 26, 2010

The No-presents Present

 If you were to survey a handful of kids months from now, most of them won't remember what they got for Christmas.  If you survey a handful of adults, I can pretty much promise you the majority couldn't recall what they got as a child.  Knowing this, and looking for something a little "more" this Christmas, we changed a tradition at my mom's house.

Some years we've bought presents for everybody, some years the adults have drawn names, but no matter the year, we've always given presents to all of the kids.  Of course they loved it and it would be crazy excited chaos in mom's living room...for about 15 minutes.  And then would be over.
But this year, we came up with the idea for each sister to be in charge of a craft for the kids.  This would mean instead of twelve presents from the three of us, we would each bring one "special gift." Mom added a craft, and some of ours ended up being more than one box, so it worked out that each child opened one box.  We explained to them that whatever they opened wasn't just for them - it was for the entire group and they had to share.  (Lots of confused glances at this point.)  By the time the first box was opened, we shared the news with the kids....the rest of the morning would be spent making crafts together!

The kids seemed somewhat excited as they all found a seat at mom's dining room table.  The craft that would take the longest to complete and dry was done first.  Each kid got to make stepping stones each designing their own, from hand prints, to their name, to a silly face with a pickle nose.
I was amazed at how eager and patient they all were to start the craft.  Even the little ones listened and followed the directions. 
Fifteen minutes in, we all glanced around at the table, maybe a little teary,
 and realized how special this day would be. 

Painting magnets was the next craft.  Again, each kid was so careful and diligent in selecting colors to paint - and even giving - in trading with each other if one didn't like their choice.  You could feel the true spirit of Christmas in mom's dining room.

Stained glass ornaments followed, which we found to be a bit more difficult for the age ranges.  We ended the craft day by decorating edible Christmas trees, knowing cleanup would be required by the end.  Each kiddo got an ice cream cone, green frosting, and an array of sweets to decorate it.

The kids loved this craft, even the big ones, although they ate about every other decoration they picked up.  Towards the end they got a little silly and started a frosting fight.  It was certainly a sweet ending to a perfectly sweet day!

It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."

"Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

Presents last a moment....memories last a lifetime!


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