Brooding On

Christmas Traditions that I Treasure

Each year for Christmas, the kids each select gifts for their siblings.  The gifts are small in monetary value but big on thoughtfulness (and personally wrapped by each child ;)   To keep these gifts from getting just lumped in with the Santa gifts, we open these on a different day and usually try to make them the first gifts of the season that we open.  I love that the kids are more eager to give their gifts than they are to open.  
This quiet time together as a family has come to be one of my favorite Christmas traditions. 
And why not?
We get to experience expressions of pride like this one, as Girl 1 watched her little sister unwrap her carefully-selected gift .  .  .

and expressions of complete surprise and joy upon opening said gift . . .

and then big "thank you" hugs that take them both to the floor in giggles.

So each child ended up with a gift from each sibling and a pair of pajamas from Mom and Dad to wear on Christmas Eve.

John and I gave each other new running shoes.  I definitely look more excited, but I'm pretty sure he liked his, too.

Girl 2 and Daddy are hard at work on the LEGO monster truck she received from Little Boy.

Each year we do this I have the same thought:  this is enough. 

After just this small gift exchange, we had Barbies, LEGOS, trains, fuzzy armbands, craft projects, and coloring pages.  The kids were entertained for the rest of the evening.

And yet, this is only the beginning. 

Santa will come.  They'll get gifts from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great-grandparents, Sunday School teachers, neighbors, etc..  I'm not saying that I wish to deprive my kids of all those gifts (or the givers the joy that comes from giving), but I am saying that's it's nice to have this small yearly reminder that it's all unnecessary.  Our kids were both delighted and entertained tonight.  But, more than that, they each take away a bit more from an experience like this than the 2 toys and pair of PJs they received.  They got to experience what it feels like to both love and be loved well.  What more could we ask of a Christmas gift exchange?

What holiday traditions do you most enjoy with your families?