My boys are very lucky to know five of their great-grandparents and all of their grandparents and we try to make a point to travel for Christmas to ensure we get a good visit in with all the generations together. Unfortunately with being on the west coast, we have to share our time. Trips from Alberta to the east coast are fewer and further in between now that we are a family of four. The last time I was “home” for Christmas with my side of the family in the east coast was 4 years ago. My oldest was 2 years old and my youngest was just 2 weeks old!
^^ Last Christmas, using one of their favorite gifts: a cardboard box. It’s always the case, isn’t it?! ^^
We have spent the past several Christmas holidays with my in-laws and I have truly treasured those moments. Seeing the relationships develop between my boys and their great-grandparents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles and cousins is magical and so worth all the traveling, interrupted schedules, long days and hyper-wired evenings full of chaos.
^^ Helping Great-Grandma in the kitchen on Christmas morning ^^
Seeing the joy and calmness light up a not-feeling-so-great-great- grandmother’s face while she reads with her great-grandson is really the reason for the season. Smelling a great-grandmother’s perfume and seeing a red lipstick smudge on the side of my son’s face is worth driving those 1,500 kilometers through the night. Family Christmas Eve Candlelight Service in -52 degrees weather during a snowstorm? Wouldn’t miss it.
The gift-giving part of christmas is really just a little bonus. We constantly hear ourselves at the end of the day with tears in our eyes saying, “I’m just so glad we get to spend time with you all.” The gifts are hardly what it’s about. It’s the sitting around the living room playing hilarious board games, embarrassing ourselves over funny stories, too many glasses of wine, laughing hysterically at the obnoxious neighborhood Christmas light shows that flash to the tune of Gangham Style, the countless hugs, the tears, the quarrels, the jokes, the amazing meals and these two little guys below? That’s what it’s all about.
This year we’re flying back east and I’m thrilled to share the holiday with my family and a few new faces to start new traditions with. And the word that is floating around front and center is gratitude. We have each other, we have love, we have our health. I’m thankful we have the ability to give our children the few gifts that they ‘ll ask for.
Last year I kept gifts for my boys at around $125 each by following the simple gift giving philosophy of “Want, Need, Wear, Read”. Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. I may change it up a bit to add “something to listen to” because I love adding new CDs for us to listen to in the vehicle and “something to create” since we’re constantly doing crafts together. Most of what they received are items they still play with on a regular basis: wooden puzzles, boardgames, a handful of great books and a few clothing essentials and the fun “little” things for their stockings. It works really great to keep us on track with our spending and not go too overboard with the gifts. There’s nothing more exciting though, then handing my boys the Wish Book and having them circle everything with a big marker. My boys love to dress up as superheros, police men, and spies and we just received the Sears Toy Shop Catelogue and found a Night Vision Toy Scope! We always have animals wandering around the farm so this would be such a cool toy for them to play with at night time! I think this trumps everything on their want list!
Be sure to visit the Sears facebook fan page for a Toy Shop contest they have running until December 13th. On Fridays they give away one of their top toys and you can win just by commenting on their page!
Disclosure: I am part of the Sears Mom Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.0