Secret Santa and Christmas things

This has been a fun week for me, and the family.  On Wednesday morning I went to the Temple and it was like a breath of fresh air.  I need to go more often because I forget how relaxing and calming and peaceful it is there.  I just sat and pondered life and things that have been on my mind for awhile.  I came home feeling better and more centered. A very important thing for this time of year.  🙂

As many of you know, we have been trying to get the kids more into the true spirit of Christmas this year and take some of the focus off of the presents side of things.  One of the ways we have decided to try and do this is by being a secret Santa.  Our neighbor is a trauma counselor and he works with a family of 8.  A mother and 7 children who have seriously had the wrong end of the stick.  The father is not in the picture anymore for good reason.  The mom and kids are in hiding from him and would not have anything come Christmas morning without help.  We thought it would be more meaningful and personal to help with a family we have an association with though our neighbor than a stranger off the tree in the mall.  So we have combined forces with several other families to provide Christmas for this family.  Jason and I elected to buy for the 4 year old girl and the 7 year old boy since they are the same ages as Kayla and Garion.  That way, they could really help pick presents for them and better understand the feelings of the kids.  This has been a completely satisfying and fun experience for our whole family.  The kids (Kayla in particular) had a hard time in the beginning when we started buying things that they would have really liked.  But as we explained to them the situation, they have really gotten into the spirit of secret Santa.  We finished our shopping yesterday and today after church, we pulled out all the stuff we had gotten for them and went over it again with kids.  I asked them how they would feel if Christmas morning they woke up and there was nothing under the tree and Santa hadn’t come?  Garion about broke into tears right there.  I think he really started to understand what it would have been like for them.  It was really neat to sit and explain to Garion and Kayla how this opportunity has allowed us to act as Christ would have us act and share our blessings with others in need.  We didn’t wrap the gifts because our neighbor wanted to make sure everyone had about the same amount of things so no kids would feel jiped.  But as we carried the items next door, Kayla must have asked 10 times if we are going to go with Jamison to deliver the presents and if we are going to be friends with the little girl and how happy she was that this girl was going to get presents.

I am planning on making secret Santa a yearly tradition.  However I am not quite sure we will go in with other families again in the future.  It just gets a little awkward.  The whole point is to do what your family can to bless another.  But all in all, it was an excellent experience and I am soo happy we were able to help another family have a good Christmas and get the things they need.  It has really increased the spirit in our home. 🙂

Friday night we had our 2nd annual friends Christmas party/gift exchange with the Laws and the McNairs.  This year we changed it a little and added a full blown traditional Christmas dinner.  It was Fabulous!  The food was excellent, the conversation was entertaining and the presents were fun!

Saturday, I “snuck” out with the girls to do the last of my shopping for Jason.  Jason took Garion out do some shopping of his own and around 12 pm we met up at Arctic Circle to have lunch.  Julie and Michelle picked me up from there and the three of us went out again for last minute whatever shopping.  I am pretty sure all of us are now completely done with our shopping.  It feels really good.  Now I just need to get things mailed. 🙂  Saturday night, Jason and I took the kids to Temple Square to see the lights, watch the nativity presentation and see the Christis.  We had a great time!  It took us a while to find a place to park, the traffic was terrible!  But once we got out of the car it was awesome.  At one of the gates to temple square there was a set of bag pipers.  We stood and listened to them play Christmas music for awhile and gave both Kayla and Garion a dollar to put in their bucket.  It was funny because they were really

scared to walk in front of everyone to the bucket, but then they saw a couple other kids putting money in.  So they very cautiously walked to the bucket together and put their dollars in, then ran back to us.  The lights were amazing as usual.  I was glad we made the effort to go.  Battling the busy streets and the crowds at Temple Square where totally worth it to see the kids’ faces when they see the Christus.  Their eyes go wide with awe, and they reverently approach Him and just stand and stare at Him.  We listened to the 2 minute presentation and the kids loved hearing the “voice of Jesus”.  Garion was the only one who understood it was a recording.  But it was awesome.  After that, we made the trek back to the car and came home.  It was a late night, but a really fun one.  And the best part was, that it didn’t snow on us!  Although, I don’t think Jason would agree with that. 🙂

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