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HomeNews /  How this Christmas opened my eyes
03
Jan
2014

             CHRISTMAS!!! 

 I love Christmas, it is  my favorite time of  year.  My mother  believed in having a  big Christmas.  We  weren't rich; in fact, it  was a joke that when  we pulled out our  artificial tree, we also  got the hammer,  string and nails, so  that we could attach  the tree to the wall in  hopes that it would  stand up somewhat  straight. It didn't  matter if the tree  leaned, that wasn't  what it was about- it  was about the birth of  Christ, spending time together and receiving LOTS OF PRESENTS!!! 

My mom would make sure that the tree was full of presents long before Christmas.  When Santa came we had so many presents that the tree could not provide enough space, so Santa had to make piles around the living room with our names on the packages.  By the time we were done, wrapping paper littered the entire room.  I don't think that she meant to go overboard, but she tried her best to make sure we got the necessities (I always got socks and underwear), but we also received fun items.

Bryan and I got married while still in college.  I remember our first Christmas and we were concerned that we wouldn't have enough ornaments on the tree, so we hung Animal Cracker boxes on the tree.  We kept that tradition until moving to Costa Rica.  I hope I kept at least one of those boxes in storage. I remember our gift exchange was very practical items that we needed around the house.

Bryan and I later took over my mom's toy store, The Elf Shelf.  A few years later, we had our triplets.  I tried to make their Christmas just like mine was as a child.  There were a few differences though.  The tree wasn't barren of gifts; however, there were only a few packages under the tree until Santa visited.  It seems Santa would raid The Elf Shelf on Christmas Eve before visiting our house because a lot of the items looked familiar. 

When they were a little older, I had heard of someone that gave their children three gifts, just like our Jesus, Lord and Savior received from the Wise Men.  I loved this idea and tried to incorporate it.  However, my memories of what Christmas morning "should" look like came into play.  We explained to our children about the three gifts.  I was so proud of myself and for a couple years, our kids did only receive three packages.  The problem was that each package had multiple items in the box.  Not exactly the message I was trying to teach.

Moving to Costa Rica made almost all Christmas traditions and comforts go on hold.  Gift buying was more difficult.  It was hard to know what the kids needed or wanted and even harder to find the items.  A couple years, they received some fun, but junky toys and an IOU, to be used next time we were in the States.  Not only were presents an issue, time with family and friends wasn't there.  Sure, we could skype, but it wasn't the same and we didn't dare go Christmas Caroling.

This Christmas however, had the largest and most positive impact on our family.  We celebrated the Birth and life of Christ with some old traditions and one that I hope will become a new tradition.

This past year, 2013, has been our most difficult year financially.  We have had to make cutback to cutbacks. Our holiday time such as Birthdays and Thanksgiving were very simple and we spent the time sharing a meal together.    Our children also celebrate their birthday in December, so we explained to our 18 year olds, that we needed to be practical and they would receive one gift, a computer to count for both celebrations.  They seemed to understand, or were in disbelief, but still, I worried how they would handle not receiving a gift under the tree. 

The five of us shared time together in the kitchen and made a Traditional Christmas dinner, complete with ham.  The food was delicious, but even better was the company and the life experience of our guests of honor. 

We shared Christmas Day with a family from Nicaragua.  We first meet this beautiful family during a mission trip here and became friends when we worked in the Children’s home.  They were our neighbors that lived on the same property and we bonded through the experiences we shared. 

The idea of having them over for dinner was prompted when Carmen confided with me that their finances had been extremely tight this year and she didn't have enough money to purchase their Christmas dinner.  Without an extra fuss, we cooked our normal amount of Traditional Christmas dinner and had plenty for them and even had leftovers.  God is so good!  I love how he provides abundantly the first time and still allows us to enjoy the leftovers!  

This Christmas marked a change and new thought process for our family that we will cherish forever and ever!  

 

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