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I have a confession to make. Sometimes I get a little grumpy at Christmas time. I get bogged down with the over consumption, the never ending to do lists and the expectation to make it all perfectly perfect. Is it just me, or does Christmas morning get harder as your kids get older? There’s not quite the same magic as when I had a houseful of littles. I find myself spinning my wheels, trying to make it grand and not really being able to. Last year about a week before Christmas Day, this is the frame of mind I found myself in. To be honest I was in a full out pity party. What a shame it was! Have you ever found yourself there? It was a sad state, and at Christmas time no less.

It took me some time to come around, but when I did I offered up a sincere prayer asking Heavenly Father to put some new (not so negative!) thoughts in my mind. I needed something fresh and wonderful to think over.

It didn’t take Him long to respond, thank goodness. He gave me a new idea. A way that I could make Christmas morning fun for teenagers and my adult kids as well. I started to think of each of my children, husband, daughter and son in law and sweet grandbaby daughter. I mentally poured over the wonderful things I see in them…the ways they have grown over the past year and the great progress they are making in their own personal struggles.

I chose two words for each of them and wrote them on a fresh white piece of paper.

Early Christmas morning before anyone (even my husband) woke up, I snuck out to the Christmas tree…

…and placed them on it…

…and around the stacks of presents.

Then I climbed back in bed, excited with the surprise of it all.

When everyone woke up, they were intrigued to be sure. There were actually a lot of jokes and questions about the pages of words. I explained that each paper represented one of them and their wonderful qualities.

While we each took turns opening individual presents, MyHandsomeHusband would occasionally hold up one of the papers and I’d let them guess which person it belonged to.

Did I mention there were a lot of jokes?

When the paper with Self Sacrificing and Patient was held up my daughter Anna (pictured above) actually said something like…”Seriously, Mom. Self Sacrificing and Patient! None of us are those things!”

She was pretty surprised to learn those were the words I’d chosen for her. 🙂 Last December she’d already spent many weeks with horrible morning sickness. That is pure Self Sacrifice, right there.

It made the morning so much fun.

We are going to do it again this year. Thank goodness for new ideas, right? I thought I’d pass the idea along to any of you who find yourself with more humbug than excitement this season. It sure brought a lot of joy to me.

Happy Holidays, everyone! My love to all of you.

About Jamie

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12 Comments

    1. I love your idea! Jamie, you are not alone in your feelings in regards to this time of year. We as wives, mothers and grandmothers naturally want to have things as perfect when it comes to those we love. When it’s a special time of year those feelings are escalated and honestly we go overboard. The pressures of shopping for the perfect gift, cleaning and decorating the home and having everything perfect is draining. I now try to focus more so on what I love about the season and it helps. Allowing yourself to simplify and reduce all the things that don’t really matter is something more you can do. Instead of all the gifts that are wrapped, share the most important gifts you have which is time, love and laughter. Share what you are grateful for, play games and lets not forget one AMAZING thing you are great at sharing which is your love for cooking. As I get older things matter less. What I truly value is the time spent with those I love. Merry Christmas!

  1. What a great idea and…it was a success!! Two late teens needed this extra something. It was truly a gift for my husband and I to have this added to our morning. We did it at the end (they didn’t see them placed on tree!) so then we put the cards (I used the inside flap of their grandma’s holiday card) under the tree against the stand. The tree skirt no longer looked bare. These will be kept and displayed for years to come, thanks for an easy but thoughtful new holiday tradition.

  2. What a great idea and…it was a success!! Two late teens needed this extra something. It was truly a gift for my husband and I to have this added to our morning. We did it at the end (they didn’t see them placed on tree!) so then we put the cards (I used the inside flap of their grandma’s holiday card) under the tree against the stand. The tree skirt no longer looked bare. These will be kept and displayed for years to come, thanks for an easy but thoughtful new holiday tradition.