Wednesday, December 21, 2011


'Tis the season of giving!  This year (and last) we had a special family home evening about the gifts Jesus gave us.  The various gifts were written on a piece of paper, or an object was used.  Then each was wrapped in a present.  The kids picked a present to unwrapped and we talked about the different gifts Christ has given us.  We also watched the following videos.  (Last year we just watched one of them.)  They both touch my heart! 

Thankfully my kids haven't seemed too enthralled in the gifts they will be receiving. We have always gone "light" on Christmas presents. I figure if my kids don't get a lot of presents year to year, (hopefully) they won't expect a lot. It's worked for our family. This year it has been especially handy because we didn't have much to spend on Christmas for the kids.  I've commented a few times about the "one" present they'll be getting--little do they know that I am teasing...but not much! The other night Shanna said she was so excited for Christmas.  I asked her why.  She responded: "I am excited to get one gift and a can of olives!"  My kids get a can of olives in their stocking every year. They love them.  It was funny because then she said, "Can I get lots of presents for my birthday?"  We've been reading Little House in the Big Woods and Laura and Mary got some gloves for Christmas and a stick of candy (Laura also received her first real doll). We talked about that a little.  Those girls were so happy with those gifts, and grateful for what they received.

When Lee and I were preparing and teaching a financial class at church I came across this story:

In 1918 Joseph F. Smith wrote a letter to his son in which he recalled Christmas experiences from his own youth when he was “always penniless.” He said about his early married life: “I owed no man through all those days, and I had to work—I could not be idle.” He said that he and his family labored “tugging away with all our mights to keep soul and body together.” It was under these conditions that he went out just before Christmas with the intent of doing something special for his children. He said, “I wanted something to please them, and to mark the Christmas day from all other days—but not a cent to do it with! I walked up and down Main Street, looking into the shop windows … and then slunk out of sight of humanity and sat down and wept like a child, until my poured-out grief relieved my aching heart; and after awhile returned home, as empty as when I left, and played with my children, grateful and happy only for them. …
“After these trials, my pathway became more smooth. I began to pick up; by hard work, rigid economy, self-denial, and the love of God, I prospered.”
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, (1998), 163

This story is powerful.  Early in married life even this former prophet of God, President of the Church had struggles.  From the story I assume that no "secret Santa" came and brought presents.  He went home and spent time with who mattered most, with gratitude in his heart.  I truly believe the line in hymn Praise to the Man: Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.  I think of that line every now and then and I try to be grateful for what I do have. 

I am also thankful that my kids have been enjoyed the traditions of the season too.  I love Leigh Anne Wilke's website,  She wrote a wonderful post titled The Power of Tradition. I loved it!

Well back to the gifts part, I have been surprised with some fun gifts this season.  The 1st grade teachers at the school gave me a yummy scented and a cute dish towel that reads "Count your blessings". One evening our neighbors came over and surprised us with this great basket full of goodies! By the time I took the picture a lot of the fruit had been taken out, along with the other lollipops for the kids.
Dec 16 2011 present from Ron Dearing

On Sunday my friend Tara gave me a bag and said Happy Birthday! I was so surprised! How did she know my birthday was coming up?  She gave me a really cute shoulder bag that she made.  I guess she has her own business making personalized handbags.  I went up to her later and thanked her and started tearing up.  She is so thoughtful!  Moving here has been good, but it's been challenging too.  Her thoughtfullness has really touched me.

Lee was sure what to get for the office ladies for Christmas and he decided we would all go out to dinner together.  We really enjoyed it.  I loved being able to visit with them and get to know the ladies better.  We're so grateful for great employees.  Or should I say, team members!


For one of Sheldon's gifts I made him a stocking.  Last year I made ones for my parents, Stephanie and Andy.

Sheldon just finished basic training, so I wanted to put some sort of military thing on there.  I love the bling on the kevlar helmet.

I did somewhat of a tutorial on these stockings on my sister blog.  Check it out!

Enjoy this season of giving! Our Savior gave us so many gifts, it's wonderful in our small, simple ways we can impart gifts to others.


Lois said...

Love the post! You'll have to tell me all the things you did for FHE so I can do that with Reed. Merry Christmas!!

Brett and Jeannine Copeland said...

Ruth-thank you for sharing your posts! This one touched me. I too don't want to spoil my kids and would rather they focus on Jesus's birth. You do that so well with your kids. I love the FHE idea of sharing Jesus's gifts. I may used that idea. Thanks again for sharing. Have a Merry Christmas!