Stephanie Pearce: It’s the simple things
December 20, 2015
When my kids were little, I tried to go all out at Christmas. I wanted to make Christmas memorable for them. I also wanted to stress the point that from the heart was much more important than the amount of money spent or what store presents came from. I wanted them to know the real meaning of Christmas, yet still have the thrill of the "magic" of receiving presents that they really wanted.
To start our traditions for the season, we would make ornaments. We made the story of the candy cane ornaments, bead ornaments, and cloth ornaments that had old family photos printed on them. Each year was different. Each year, memories were made.
I encouraged my children to make their gifts for their grandparents as well. They have crocheted potholders, given pictures that were framed with poems, and home-canned vegetables as gifts. They also helped me make quilts, cookies, and throws.
I had calendars that helped count down the days to Christmas. I had books with stories we would read every night. I made a big deal about decorating the tree, even when we had our tumbleweed tree.
I so miss those days. Days when we weren't in such a hurry. Days that weren't so rushed from working all day and then trying to cram in time to do anything special. I miss seeing the excitement in my kids' faces when looking at their presents under the tree. I miss making Christmas memories with my kids while helping them to make gifts for others. I miss my kids being kids.
I miss watching them ask Santa for their special Christmas gifts. One that sticks out was when my daughter was 5 or 6 and she asked Santa to make her a world champion barrel racer. I don't remember most of the presents the children received that year, but I do remember what Santa brought for my daughter. She received a Christmas bell for believing and a letter from Santa explaining that being a world champion isn't something that can be given but instead is something that must be worked for extremely hard. He went on to say that she has the heart of a champion and if she put her mind to it, worked hard and was dedicated, she could earn the title of World Champion Barrel Racer one day. He said that she would enjoy the title a lot more if she earned it than if it was given to her. We still have that letter from Santa.
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It's the simple things around the entire season that make this holiday so special. It isn't the most expensive gift or the biggest gift that makes the season memorable. That makes sense because, after all, Jesus was born in a stable. He wasn't born into luxury or into a grand, royal reception. He was welcomed by simple shepherds and farm animals. He came to change our hearts and so it makes sense that the gifts that touch our hearts are worth far more than the amount of money spent on them. The time we spend with each other is the best gift of all.