Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

It’s Christmas!

Well, my friends, Christmas is here!  If you’re like me, you still have a lot of things on your to do list that are not going to be done for Christmas.

So, rather than beat ourselves up about it, let’s do our very best to let go of our perfect dream plans, and enjoy the reality of our holiday.  Very few of us will have Norman Rockwell or Currier and Ives Christmases.  Of course, now, I think we might be wanting Thomas Kincaid. ~smile~

So, if the house isn’t perfect, the tree isn’t perfect, the circumstances aren’t perfect, the gifts aren’t perfect, the turkey isn’t perfect, the meal isn’t perfect, the kids aren’t perfect, or the relatives aren’t perfect, let’s just let it go. 

After all, what started it all was God’s perfect gift to us.  He came to Earth as a baby, Jesus, to experience all the emotions, happiness, and suffering that we do.  He then gave us the gift of His life as payment for our sins, so that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”   1 John 1:9

That’s all that really matters this Christmas. 

The rest is just stuff.

Wishing you God’s peace and salvation,

Merry Christmas!

Laura

Happy at Home

My Daybook…

FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 8TH…
Outside my window…darkness.  It’s far before dawn here in Missouri.

I am thinking… I need to get busy.  I have to go to a nearby city for my husband’s office Christmas party.  I found out last night that we are to bring “White Elephant” gifts.  The $ limit is $10.  I’ll be shopping at home from my stash!
I am thankful for… an e-mail from my grandma!  She’s recently moved and I lost her for a few weeks!
From the learning rooms…  a shortened day because of my trip.  Definitely math, language arts, and reading.

From the kitchen…  quick and simple.  Breakfast-toast.  Lunch-soup made from yesterday’s leftover brisket, potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic.
I am wearing… Must I say?  I’m wearing my flannel nightgown.  It’s only 5:30 in the morning here as I write.
I am creating… a list in my head of things I want to create.  I’ll be writing them down soon.  Today, as we drive, I’ll probably be crocheting a hanging handle on a dishtowel.  I have a friend who has ordered two from me.   She doesn’t need them until after Christmas; but, it’s a project that will travel well.
I am going… to my husband’s office Christmas party.
I am hoping… to keep myself organized during this week.  After this week, much of the busy-ness of the season will be finished.  Then, I can focus on finishing projects.
I am hearing… nothing but the hum of the computer, the click of the keys, and silence.  It’s early, mind you!
Around the house… a few things to put away from the weekend…lots of laundry to be done…some ironing to do…more decorating to do.
One of my favorite things…poinsettias!  I hope my Honey reads this and gets the hint!
A few plans for the rest of the week:

Monday- Office Christmas Party

Tuesday-Homeschool Support Group Christmas Party

Wednesday-Caroling and ringing the bells at Wal-Mart with our church to raise money for Salvation Army.

Thursday-Kids’ homeschool Christmas Party

Friday-Friend’s Christmas party

Saturday-Craft fair in the day, just attending, and a Christmas play that night.

Sunday-possibly going to Branson to take in a show, if I can find a babysitter.

BREATHE LAURA BREATHE!
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Making Cookies

Making Cookies

Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook to see what other ladies are doing this week and to join in the fun.

It will be a very busy week, full of Christmas party preparations.

The only really important way that we must prepare for Christmas is in our hearts.  The rest of it is all for fun.  Let’s not forget that.  Jesus is the reason that we celebrate Christmas.  Jesus, the baby in the manger, God’s son, grew up to be the sinless sacrifice for our sins.  Let’s reclaim this holiday this year.

Laura

Keeping my Focus

Christmas on the Cheap…and Nice

Many of us are called upon to give gifts in gift exchanges, at the office, to a teacher, to friends, the list goes on and on. Many of these gifts are supposed to be of the $5 or less type.

Why not shop in the comfort of your home, from your home? Go on a treasure hunt.

Entire article available at http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com .

I Started my Christmas Shopping This Morning!

 

Yes, it’s true.  I started my Christmas shopping this morning.  I found a wonderful yard sale with my dear girlfriend, Miss Sherry.  I found some nice Christmas decorations, some of which I’ll use, and some of which will be gifts.  I also found a few things that I’ll use before Christmas.  Now I just need to squirrel everything away until the right time! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Laura of Harvest Lane

Thankful to Be at Home!

 

 

Jars…A Great way to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

  Jars….I’ve been on again off again about collecting jars to use over the years.  I’ve got about a zillion quart mason jars in my garage that I’ve moved from house to house.  I’m waiting to have a place to garden.  Perhaps next year.  It appears we will be moving during this growing season.

 I read a post about jars from a new blog that I found today.  It’s called Down-to-Earth (I promise I’ll figure out how to link one of these days!).  She wrote a terrific post about using jars here,  http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2007/10/jars.html .  I just read a couple of posts; but, I’m sure I’ll be going back regularly.

Glass jars are a great way to reduce your use of plastic bags or containers.  Most anything can be stored in them, either on the counter, in a cabinet, in the refrigerator, or even in the freezer, if you don’t fill them too full.  New jars are wonderful; but , I like to reuse old jars that I find at yard sales and the ones that I buy products in at the store.  The only limit is your imagination when it comes to filling these little treasures.  I love to give gift mixes in mason jars.  This is my own way to recycle since I don’t have a convenient way to recycle items where I live.

So, thanks to the reminder from Rhonda at Down-to-Earth, I’m going to renew my efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle jars again.

Blessings to all as we learn to make do with what the LORD has provided for our use and enjoyment.

Laura

Happy at Home

Planning Ahead for Valentine’s Day

Okay, time to be truthful.  I’ve never thought about Valentine’s Day this far ahead of time before; but, this year is going to be different.  I want to make things special and enjoy the day.  Last night I began making some cards for the swap that Sue is hosting at http://countrypleasures.blogspot.com/ .  I’ve made ten cards so far, using odds and ends of scrapbook paper, a cardboard heart template cut apart and used like quilt pieces, some buttons, rubber stamps,  some embroidery floss, and glue stick.  They were all things I had on hand, some of which have been in my craft box for years, some of which were given to me.  I ended up with ten very cute cards without spending a penny.  Since I did ten already, I think I’m going to send some to my local friends, too.  So, I’ll probably be making another 20 or 30 cards!  I wish I could show you; but, I’ll have to wait for the digital camera that God will someday provide!  ~smile~

I encourage you to look around you at the things you have on hand.  Think creatively about how you can make something special to make someone’s day brighter, even if it’s just your own!  

Blessings!

Laura

Happy at Home

Something to Think About…Gift Giving

We had a relaxing Christmas, just my mother-in-love and our little family of six.  We take time to open our presents one at a time so that all can enjoy each gift.  It seemed to take a long time this year.  It’s because now all of my children are now old enough to give gifts.  That multiplies presents quickly!  Although most of the things I gave were thrifted treasures, I found myself concerned that too much emphasis was put on gifts simply because of the great number involved.  Now, I do want my children to give gifts; but, I think I will be re-examining my own gift giving for next year.  We do not give our children very many gifts except for their birthdays and Christmas and an occasional I love you day.  I think that causes me to want to give them more on the special occasions.  I think also, since I’m spending so little, I feel like I should give more things.  I now realize that as with many things, less is best.  I intend to make some changes in our home.  I want our life to be focused on Christ and His gift.  I think my children understand that.  It’s just something for you and me to think about….

God bless!

Laura

Happy at Home

Trimming the Tree

Ah, what a wonderful weekend.  Saturday dawned cold and snow soon began to fall, slowly blanketing the neighborhood with a pristine white.  It was a perfect day to trim the tree.  The children were absolutely delighted with the Frazier Fir my Honey and I chose.  They could hardly wait to get started.  It took me over an hour to get all the ornaments ready to deck the tree.  In the meantime, my Honey went to pick up his momma so she could join in the fun. 

My Honey and I have a long standing tradition for decorating the tree.  The very first ornament to go on the tree is an old gold tinsel wired “I love you” that he fashioned for me way back in 1983 when I had my first tree in my own apartment.  I saved it; and, we use it every year.  I keep it because it’s a symbol of the enduring quality of our love. 

Next we jump ahead to 1986, the year we were married.  We have two “First Christmas Together” ornaments.  The first was given to us by Lowell’s momma, a little ceramic box with a boy & girl in it, from Precious Moments.  The second is a glass ball from Hallmark.  It’s always so heartwarming to hang those on the tree knowing we have such a lot of history together. 

Then, year by year we add our yearly ornament.  The children simply observe with growing anticipation as we near the years of their births.  They each also have a yearly ornament to add to the tree.   If they want to help before we get to their birth years, we just tell them, “You’re not born yet!”

Finally, we reach the current year.  Each child then unwraps their first gift of the season, their new ornament.  They are always so thankful and blessed by their new ornaments.  I love it.  They love it.  Honey loves it. 

Best of all,  as we go through each year, we talk about some of the things that happened that year.  It’s a great way to remember some of our family history. 

Build some new traditions this year; but, keep the ones that bring you and your family joy. 

May God bless you!

Merry Christmas!

Laura

Happy at Home