On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Our Christmas celebration as a family!
A few years ago we started the tradition of having a pre-Christmas, Christmas celebration with our little family.
This first began as our Christmas ornament exchange the night before we left for my parents’ home to celebrate Christmas with extended family. This is still the case but it has grown into something more…
On December 23rd we have our immediate family’s celebration. On this night we pull out Christmas cookies and eggnog, put on Christmas music, gather in the living room to open our last days on the advent calendar and then read our favorite Christmas book: “Twas the Night Before, the Night Before Christmas.”
We read it every December 23rd.
Then we exchange gifts as a family.
This particular tradition began in the last 5 years when we noticed that the efforts of siblings were not being fully acknowledged or appreciated on Christmas morning when presented side by side with larger gifts from Santa. For the sake of encouraging sibling connection and attachment we decided to start having the kids exchange gifts with each other and give their gifts to mom and dad on the 23rd instead of the 25th.
This also had the added bonus of cutting down on the amount of gifts that had to be loaded in the car to be toted to Ohio on Christmas Eve.
Typically the last gifts that are opened on December 23rd are the annual Christmas ornaments.
Every year we purchase an ornament for each of our children. Their ornament represents something personal about them. It is either reflective of their likes, activities from that year, or a special connection we have with that child.
The kids look forward to pulling out their ornaments every year to hang on the tree and love the idea that when they leave home they will have a box full of childhood Christmas memories to take with them.
This December 23rd was a bit different.
Because it fell on a Sunday, our special day began with church where we enjoyed an hour-long celebration of music and the spoken word as we celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The highlight of the day was getting to watch Molly sign to a song performed by the young women. I was moved to tears by the Spirit she brought to the room through her emotional ASL interpretation of the words to the song.
It was a beautiful service.
When we arrived home we enjoyed lunch and Sunday naps before we began our Christmas celebration as a family.
The kids were so eager to give the gifts they had purchased or created with such love, that we agreed to begin the celebration earlier than usual and at 3:30 the fun began.
All the kids were beside themselves with excitement, eager to give the gifts they had so carefully chosen for each family member.
It warms my heart to see the sweet relationships that have grown between all my kids, with no division between those who came to this family through birth and those who came through love.
Once everyone was settled into their places we began the gift exchange with Tyler handing out his gifts first and ending with Grace handing out her gifts last.
I love that special time with my immediate family.
Toby and I were spoiled by the kids and felt very loved by the thought that was put into our Christmas gifts.
Our awesome afternoon ended on a high note when the girls surprised Toby and I with tickets to go and see Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was a gift months in the making. They combined their efforts and then really threw us off the scent by “pulling a Toby” and wrapping our tickets in layers of boxes and wrap.
With the tickets came the offer to babysit so we could enjoy a date night without children, something we haven’t been able to do in a long time.
What a gift!!
Our evening ended with our Christmas ornament exchange. Each child received an ornament that was personal and reflective of that child and a special connection we share with that child.
And Brandon’s first ornament:
He was thrilled to start his Christmas ornament collection as a member of the family.
It was an amazing day that ended with an awesome surprise…
Stay tuned for that in a future post!