Ozzie has returned home for the holidays.
On December 22nd I drove the two hours to pick him up for a week-long visit home. I arrived by 2:00 pm, just in time for our family session with his therapist. After his therapy session we were free to go. As soon as we got in the car Ozzie asked if he could open the Christmas gift he received from the unit. Each of the boys there receive gifts for Christmas. For the young men that can return home for Christmas a single gift is given to them before they leave, but for those boys that must remain for the holiday a pile of gifts is purchased for each of them and will be waiting for them under the house Christmas tree when they awake Christmas morning.
Ozzie opened his gift and was thrilled to receive a new Lego set!
On the drive home we stopped to do a little shopping. Ozzie still needed to get his Christmas shopping done for family, so I took him shopping on our drive home so that he could buy gifts and do his Christmas wrapping the following morning before our family Christmas gift exchange on Saturday night.
We arrived home in time for dinner. The girls were gone for the evening at their co-op Christmas sleepover, so it was just the boys at home. We had a quiet evening relaxing, enjoying a family dinner, watching Christmas movies, and trying Buster’s magical rainbow trick he left us in the night..
The girls were both working on Saturday, so they went straight from their sleepover to work while the boys wrapped gifts and helped pack up all the gifts and supplies we needed to take to the Homestead on Christmas Eve.
It was a quiet, but productive day at home. When the girls got home we prepared for our family gift exchange. This is a tradition that just began in recent years when the older kids asked if they could give us our gifts before our Christmas with extended family. It was such a special experience that it has become a family tradition that we simply added to our already existing tradition of exchanging ornaments on December 23rd.
After dinner we gathered in the living room to read one of my favorite Christmas books, “The Night Before the Night Before Christmas.” It is a delightful read that makes us all laugh, as we can easily relate to the family’s mishaps and all that goes wrong in the days leading up to Christmas. We enjoy reading it every December 23rd.
Then it was time to exchange gifts. We began with our annual ornament exchange. Every December 23rd we give the kids (and each other) a new ornament reflective of their personality, likes, or interests at this point in their lives. This growing collection will then get to go with each child when they move out, giving each of them a nice start to their own Christmas tree decorations.
Here are each of our new ornaments for 2017:
Following our ornament exchange each of the kids took turns handing out the gifts they bought/made and wrapped for each sibling, and for Toby and me. We went oldest to youngest this year with Grace handing out her gifts first.
For Rusty, she purchased a Winnie the Pooh t-shirt from Etsy and then made Rusty a Pooh baseball cap. Using her Pooh autograph from our trip to Disney World as a reference, she copied his signature and hand embroidered Pooh’s autograph on the mustard yellow hat.
For Tyler and Ozzie, she came up with the clever idea of buying them each their own huge roll of bubble wrap. It was their favorite gift of the night and immediately they rolled out the plastic wrap and the popping began.
It started with stomping:
Then there was rolling:
Next came some leaps:
And finally, some fancy dance moves atop the bubble wrap dance floor that covered the living room floor.
We really should have ended the evening with Gracie’s gift rather than beginning with her gift. It was hard to pull the kids back to the party!
Then it was Molly’s turn to hand out gifts.
Ozzie was thrilled with his gift from Molly, the most recent release of his favorite book series.
Unlike the girls that now have disposable income to spend on Christmas gifts, Rusty had to rely on repurposed objects and creativity for his Christmas gift giving, but it certainly didn’t work against him. He had some of the most creative gifts of the night and we all appreciated the time, energy and great love he put into his gifts!
I received an erasable menu board for my kitchen:
Tyler received a tic-tac-toe board Rusty made him out of a wooden board and slices of cut tree branches for the game pieces.
Ozzie’s gift revolved around two of Ozzie’s passions: matchbox cars and Legos. Using a piece of leftover board ,Rusty fastened a Lego board in the center for Ozzie to build Lego creations onto and then added a road around the edge of the board allowing Ozzie to play with his matchbox cars. It was a perfect gift for Ozzie…so thoughtful.
The two little boys did their shopping at Dollar Tree. I took each one shopping individually and set them loose in the store to do their own Christmas shopping. They loved it! It is always such a joy to see what the boys purchase for each family member. It gives me a lot of insight into how each of us is seen through their eyes.
It was a perfect evening with my little family. It was wonderful having everyone home, together, gathered around a burning fire in the fireplace and a tree decorated with the twinkling of lights and ornaments of years’ past.
December 24th, we leave for the Homestead for a joyful Christmas celebration with our extended family. It promises to be another blessed family holiday.
We hope your Christmas was filled with peace, joy, and the love of family and friends. As we count our blessings this Christmas season please know we count you among our greatest gifts.
Merry Christmas from Patchwork Farm.