Christmas gift…

Every year, there are a couple gifts that I’m really excited to give – this sign happened to be one of them this year. In Steve’s family, we rotate which sibling we give to and this year we gave to his youngest sister. She is a mother to five boys and this is their family motto. I had the idea to turn that motto into a large wooden sign with each letter cut from wood. (similar to some signs I’ve previously made shown below).

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of these and now my wheels are turning again for all the holiday signs I want to make!

The ornament…

Cannon came home right before Christmas break with a special decorated white paper bag. I recognized the bag. I get one every year from my elementary aged kids and it’s usually some type of ornament. I usually convince the kids to let me wait to open it until Christmas – but Cannon was relentless, he wanted me to open it right now. I pushed him off a couple times but he kept following me around with this bag. I realized there was no way he was going to wait until Christmas, so we sat down together and I opened it.

I found his cute little hand print painted on a glass ornament. Its a classic, I think I have one for every kid. He immediately wanted to put it on the tree, and he quickly left the room. A few minutes later, I could hear him discussing how to hang it. I yelled from the other room, “Cannon, you’re going to need to find a hook to hang it.” A few minutes later, I could still hear him in the other room and he hadn’t found a hook. I told him to hold tight and I would grab a string to hang it from. Minutes later, I walked into the living room ready to hang his ornament and I saw him kneeling on the ground.

What I didn’t see right away were the tears streaming down his face, but I saw him holding a small broom, sweeping up something. As I got down on his level to see what he was doing I saw his broken ornament. He looked at me with tear filled eyes and I could see his broken heart. The gift he was so excited to give and to hang on the tree was broken – he was broken. Sobbing. He couldn’t wait for me to find a hook or to grab some string. He hung his delicate ornament on a few needles from our fake tree. It held for approximately two seconds before tumbling off the tree and smashed against the wood floors.

My mom heart broke. Perhaps if it had been broken two weeks down the road, it would have been an easier loss. But he had just been so excited to give his gift.

Shortly after, I had to go pick up Hallie and after picking her up I had the thought to run to a store and pick up another glass ornament. I ran into Wal-mart and started walking up and down the isles of the holiday section. It was completely picked over. The ornament section was empty. At this point, we were just a week before Christmas and everything seemed to be cleaned out. I kept walking the isles. Not just the ornament isles. Every. Single. Holiday. Isle. And wouldn’t you know it, on some random, empty isle, there was a discarded box of 8 clear glass ornaments. Christmas miracle.

You should’ve seen his face when I walked in the door and showed him the ornaments. Crisis averted. We painted his hand (we actually had enough ornaments that all the kids made one) and drew little snowmen. This is the Christmas magic I wrote about recently. He may soon forget that he broke his ornament – but his look of disappointment is forever etched in my mind – enough so that I made an impromptu trip to the store to show him how important his gift was to me.

Non traditional nativity….

I love to find unique nativities to adorn our shelves during the Christmas season.

Meet the newest addition:

Hunter’s creation is both special and a little entertaining. I mean have you ever seen a wiseman with such suave hair?! I love everything about it.

I hope he doesn’t mind these lego guys never going back into his collection. This nativity is going to be coming out year after year. 🙂

Christmas 2020…

Before Christmas I found a quote on facebook that read, “As a grown-up I’ve learned that all the “Christmas Magic” I felt as a kid was really a mom who loved me.”

I would add – as a grown-up I’ve learned that “Christmas magic” doesn’t have to cost a fortune and for my kids it takes very little effort. I’ve found that Christmas magic is in the little things I do leading up to the big day. Just little drops in the bucket that build to an unsurmountable excitement. I’ve always heard that they’ll never remember what they got, but they’ll remember how they felt.

We had a beautiful Christmas. Our kids are at fun ages where their wants are basic but their excitement and gratitude is high. It’s the perfect combination.

Steve and I like to get all gifts wrapped well before Christmas but I don’t even want to admit how late we were up on Christmas Eve putting the double shot together. But you can tell from these faces, it was a big hit.

I know every family does Christmas a little differently. This is how we roll: Our kids get stockings from Santa, but all their gifts are wrapped from us (unless it’s large like a double shot and then it’s unwrapped and from us). We take turns opening gifts one at a time which means I make sure that each person has the same amount to open. Each year they can expect one of their presents to be books and another to be some type of clothing they are in need of.

Present opening is not something we rush through – we definitely take our time and give each kid our full attention.

Surprisingly, every one is pretty patient – even the four-year-old – just waiting his turn.

What I like about this process is the kids are always excited to open their own gifts, but I love how excited they get when other’s open gifts. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

We had some pretty great reactions this year – to some surprising items. You would think Hunter’s face is opening some expensive technology that he’s had his heart set on – instead it is a Comfy that I had convinced him was out of stock. Bennett’s reaction was jealousy when he looked under the tree and couldn’t seem to find a box the same size – he was hoping for a Comfy as well. Bennett was over the moon when he opened a kid sized version of the comfy that came in a smaller box. Little did either one of them know the effort to that “Christmas magic”.

Hunter had asked for a comfy a while back and I picked it up and wrapped it in his wrapping paper. But just two weeks before Christmas Bennett would not let up on wanting a comfy. But I do all my shopping early so my kids know not to ask for something two weeks before. But I couldn’t help but see if I could find one – I could always swap out a gift and save something for his birthday. But I couldn’t find one anywhere. Hallie and I went to all the stores that claimed they had them in stock and nothing. I had come up short. Two days before Christmas I mentioned it to my friend in passing and she said her mother-in-law had bought several Comfys and didn’t think she was going to use them all. Sure enough, Christmas eve, she dropped by an adult size and I already had a kid size. So I unwrapped Hunter’s and wrapped the adult one for Hunter and rewrapped the kid’s version for Bennett. The is how “Christmas Magic” works!! I think my favorite reaction was Hallie’s surprise knowing how hard we had tried to find one and we couldn’t!

Steve gave me the comfy last year as probably a joke – but the joke was on him because I loved it and used it all the time and now my kids love them as well!

This year we did something we haven’t done before and we hid everyone’s main gift – the thing we thought they’d be most excited to receive. It started because Hunter was getting a ripsurf skateboard which came in a very large package and a dead give away to what the item was. So we decided to hide it and once we were hiding his, we figured everyone would benefit from a hidden gift. But they had no clue they had a gift in hiding. So we opened all the gifts and everyone was so happy with what they received – not a disappointed face in the crowd. We cleaned up all the paper and started organizing the living room. And then we told Briggs he had a present he needed to go find and Hallie and Hunter instantly looked at each other with a inquisitive face wondering if they all had another gift.

And this set off my favorite 15 minutes of Christmas morning. Pure joy and excitement. Jumping up and down. Squeals.

Just like we thought, Hunter knew exactly what was in that box. A present he had been asking for for months – that was literally out of stock, except I purchased it back in August and held on to it. He made sure to take his time and really savor the moment.

And my very favorite moment of the morning. Hallie. With the last gift of the morning. The girl who literally did not ask for one thing for Christmas. She claims I do a great job so she doesn’t need to come up with anything. 🙂

We had bought her airpods on black friday. Not because she asked for them, but because we knew she would love them. She loves music. We wrapped them in an inconspicuous box because that’s part of the magic – the surprise. And boy was she surprised. It had never crossed her mind to ask for them – that’s what made giving them so fun. She instantly started to get emotional. And through her tears (All captured on video of course) she says, “Why are you so nice to me?!” Well, that sent all of us to tears. Steve. Me. Hunter. Bennett. We all cried with her in her excitement because she was just so genuinely grateful.

It is fun to give gifts! Especially when they are so excited, and so grateful. Years from now, I may not remember what I gave her, but I will always remember the special moment we shared when she opened that gift. When she sent the whole room into tears.

We spent the day building lego sets and playing outside.

Cannon has taken on a new love for our old hove board. I love love that he was riding that hoverboard while playing with his new Christmas robot.

Christmas was magic. For a hundred little reasons.

Mr. Animated…

Every family needs an animated child for Christmas morning – they are always overly excited/happy about everything and they are just so fun to buy gifts for.

It is no surprise that Bennett is our animated child – 365 days a year – but he’s especially fun on Christmas morning. He gives us all the reactions you would hope for in a child opening a present. My favorite part was scrolling through all of our pictures from Christmas morning and seeing the many faces of Bennett. Every time he opened a gift, we got a reaction. Many times his siblings opened a gift, we got a reaction from him. He was just as excited for everyone else as he was for himself. Every one needs a little Bennett in their lives.

This last picture is one of my favorites. Bennett was wanting a comfy and we had convinced him it wasn’t going to happen. So when Hunter opened a Comfy, Bennett gave a look of somewhat disappointment mixed with disgust.

What can I say – he’s full of facial expressions!