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The true meaning of Christmas

December 10, 2008

In the spirit of Laura’s retrospective theme, I had to take a moment and remember where we were last year at this time.

We had received our referral in November, on Thanksgiving weekend. That is about the time that all hell was breaking loose in Vietnam and CIS had come to a screeching halt on travel approvals. We were caught smack in the middle of the new system and were told that instead of traveling in 2 weeks we could be waiting a VERY. LONG. TIME.

December came, and I was a wreck. I was getting up in the middle of the night to check my email for travel approval. I was crying all of the time. We had gone to visit Jeremy’s family for the holidays and I remember being in absolute pain around my sweet 2 month old nephew. I wanted my own baby so badly!

On Christmas Eve, we went to the annual Christmas party at the Kelly’s house. I held my baby nephew by the tree and just sobbed. I’m sure that half of the people there thought I was crazy.

We would not get our approval until April.

But this year is different. We have our amazing son and I am so excited about introducing him to the joy of Christmas. I don’t want it to be about gifts and Santa. I want it to be about appreciating family and spending time together.

We’ve limited his gifts to three–heartless, I know. We’ve begged our families not to go crazy.

I feel like we have absolutely everything we could ever want. We are a family.

In addition, I worry about the emphasis that our society places on gifts and spending money as a way to express affection. I think going overboard on presents ups the bar so much that kids end up feeling disappointed no matter what. The holidays become all about acquisition rather than joy.
My friend Jenn wrote an amazing post about giving services and time rather than presents.
She is an eco-friendly gal who also brings up the point that unused and unwanted gifts contribute to a ton of waste. I love her gift giving ideas. I for one am thinking that visiting friends and family and spending time with them this year is a better gift than simply sending a present their way. I also love her idea of calling friends and family to wish them a happy holiday is more personal than a card.
Before Morgan came home, Jenn made beautiful bibs for him and included a recycled card. It was the most touching and thoughtful gift! These are the things that you remember for a lifetime!
Some holiday traditions for our family:
Pumpkin Pancakes with real maple syrup
Breaking out the Christmas music and dancing in the living room
Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special as a family
Going for a neighborhood walk to look at Christmas lights
Autumn Cobbler
The Kelly’s Christmas party in NY
The Winter Solstice party at the Branigans in NY
Sledding down the driveway at Jeremy’s parent’s house
We are just getting started, so I’m sure we will be able to add many more great memories as the years go by. What are some of your favorites?
PS: Some of you had asked about our adoption stork ornament: It was a gift from The Chiarello Family–they got it at Mandy’s Moon
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. lee permalink
    December 11, 2008 1:01 am

    you are so NOT heartless for three gifts. we are giving zoe a play kitchen and 2 small gifts…so if that is the case, we are heartless too! like you said, we have everything we need…each other! :Dso happy for your first christmas together!

  2. Jen permalink
    December 11, 2008 2:54 am

    We have also limited the kids to 3 gifts! We think of it in terms of the gifts that were brought by the wisemen…if three were good enough for Jesus….We have found that we put lots of thought into those three gifts.

  3. Jenn permalink
    December 11, 2008 3:14 am

    aaawww, shucks. i think i may have blushed a bit. thank you. what we’ve decided to do this year (bj’s idea) is to exchange gifts that in total cost no more than $10 and it has to be from thrift/consignment/antique/vintage. this is when one has to get creative and be on the look-out. our other gift to one another is going to be a nice dinner out, probably after new years. we’ve picked up a gently used bike for amos, along with some “new” shoes and a tool box. I know our parents will be sending a bundle over, no matter what we plead. i hope you enjoy this time of year. i look forward to hearing about the traditions that you create to celebrate. cheers!

  4. Cris and Em permalink
    December 11, 2008 6:44 am

    this is such a sweet post! i definately remember last christmas as a tiny little family, wondering if juneau was every coming home. this christmas is going to be awesome!

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