Growing up, Christmas was not about extravagant gifts, although we had some simple gifts most years even when the family was not doing well financially. As a child, Christmas was about the four of us, being at home and savoring my mom's non-stop cooking ALL DAY LONG. It also meant that my dad would fire up the fireplace (real wood logs and all), even if it was in the 70s outside. Since we didn't have grandparents, cousins, uncles or aunts who lived nearby to share in the holidays, we did our own thing at home. Now that we have our own family of 4, I often think about what kind of traditions we want to institute in our family. My husband's family on the other hand, is huge. Every holiday season, there are gatherings with the family clan and although I enjoy watching our children grow up and celebrate holidays with the large family that I never had, I still savor the time for us to be alone with our kids and build our own memories.
This year, our Christmas morning opened with gifts, because as a parent there's something so heart warming about the excitement and anticipation on a child's face when they are opening a gift. Since we hadn't explained Santa to our kids (remember it still hasn't been discussed in our household), they didn't know about or expect any gifts, which made the surprise even better. Afterwards we had breakfast and quickly got dressed for church. It was natural and easy this year to bring back the focus on Christ this Christmas, because this year it fell on Sunday. I was reminded how amazing and wonderful a gift we were given just a little over 2000 years ago when the God of all creation, who transcends all space and time, came down as flesh at a physical place and time to touch and speak to us. Wow. We take it for granted every day. This is the Christmas I want to show our children. The gifts, the full bellies, the laughter and the memories are just a bonus.