Wednesday, November 3, 2010 52 days!

I am truly excited for Christmas. This year is very different for my HUGE family, as my side has had some financial setbacks.

My mom has always been the genius frugal Christmas gift "getter." She goes to garage sales, thrift stores and rummages through Alice's (my 16 year old half-sister) bedroom for goodies for the kids and grandkids. My grandma, her mother, sends her boxes throughout the year of books she gets at library book sales and when Christmas comes, my mom has a gift bag with items just perfect for each one of us.

My dad has always been the online shipping at Amazon! Books, Movies, toys and whatever else you can think of. But this year, dad's job position was riffed and his income is nil. Literally. Janet and I have been brainstorming a fun Christmas filled with family, food and laughter with zero emphasis on gifts...and it's 180 degrees from our usual time together.

I celebrate Christmas because of God sending His Son into the world to save us from our sins. But do I really do that? Well, I make sure I attend a candlelight service somewhere and sit in reverence and ponder God's most perfect gift...but I think I get most excited about Christmas because I love PRESENTS!!!! Just being honest.

When I was a kid, both of my grandparents had a MASSIVE mound of gifts. And we got everything we circled in the Sears catalog. It was ridiculous...and it trained me to expect everything I want every year. It has been a real struggle as an adult to let go of that expectation. I've begun the process of lowering Flannery's expectations too. We're modest in our gifts. Usually, there is one thing that is a big gift and then it's clothes and some useful stuff like books.

I pray every year that my focus won't be on the gifts...both the giving and the getting. "I spent $18 on Andy, and $24 on Jeffy, so I need to get something extra for Andy under $6." DUMB.

I remember one year when Leon and Jennifer (Chris' sister & husband) gave me a bag of Peet's coffee beans. I love Peet's coffee. I was the only one in the room to receive anything from them that year. They had the beans, thought of me, and I was blessed with a token of their love. They didn't get the beans and then check me off their "to buy for" list and move on down the line - "Those beans were worth about $10, so let's get Kevin something around $10..." Nope. They felt they wanted to bless me and they did.

My focus is on the kids this year, as far as gifts go. I am making some blank books for car rides, fleece blankets and I have a coupon for Carter's for the little ones. I found something useful for Andy, and bought wisely for Christopher, Kenneth and Josiah...catered to Jeffrey's "sports" side and gathered a bunch of clothes from my family for the Goodenough kids!

I want to read the birth story of Jesus at Dad's house this year - Janet is making a bunch of goodies for snacking, and we're going to call it a potluck with games and lots of coffee. The kids can play and we can relax and not worry about what we bought for one another. Our love should be enough.