Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gratituesday: Presents and Presence

Last night was the night that Phil and I chose to wrap gifts together. We get out all the gifts, and all the gift-wrapping supplies, pour ourselves a glass of wine, put Elf on the TV (please tell me you've all seen Elf) , and get to work. It's always a fun little date night.
"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup."

This year I was lusting after these two gadgets:

But alas, it was good old fashioned scissors and tape for us. And it worked just fine!

When we wrap presents for the kids, we number them in what order we want them to open them. I know it's a little OCD of me, but it ensures that someone doesn't open underwear right after someone else opens a new Leapster. So to keep things fair (at least while they are still little) they all open similar presents in order. We start with the smallest presents and work our way up to the biggest and best.

We also don't do the whole name-tag thing on the kids gifts. We just write on the present with a Sharpee who it's for. That way they don't question if it's from Mom & Dad or "Santa".

Speaking of Santa, we have always been on the fence about telling our kids about Santa, and not wanting to lie to them. We emphasize that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, and we talk to them about St. Nick. They know that the Santa's they see in the mall are just helpers and not real. But without wanting to squash their dreams, we just try to talk around Santa.
John-Paul, who's in first grade, recently got sent to the Principal's office for telling kids that Santa wasn't real. I think he was telling them that the Santa that was about to come to their school wasn't real (as we had told him). Anyway, while I do not think he should have been in trouble for saying it, I completely understand that other kids shouldn't find out the truth from a boy in their class. Hmmmm, we're still not sure how to handle the whole thing. Any suggestions?

Back to the point of this post.....I am grateful today for so many things:

~A husband who helps with all the household stuff, like wrapping presents. And enjoys spending time together, no matter what we do.

~Children who are so.excited. about what is to come!

~Presents to give to said children.

~God's love shown by sending His only son to be born unto us, teach us, and redeem us all.

What are you thankful for??


  1. When my son, Peter, was in second grade, he was singing "Grandma got run over by a reindeer". All his classmates heard was "you may think there's no such thing as Santa." The rumor was dispelled, but all Peter kept saying is, "Mom, it's just a song!"

  2. That sounds like a perfect evening with hubby.

    Numbering the gifts, what a great idea! Sounds like something I'd do. LOL. I usually remember what's in each and guide the kids which order to open them, but that doesn't always work either.

    We're VERY low-key on the Santa thing. I figure that there are enough voices telling them all about Santa and making their lists, that I don't need to encourage it any more. My kids have never even sat on Santa's lap and they have no desire to do so either. And that's ok by me. We mention him, but also try to remind the kids that he's St. Nicholas afterall.

    What I'm thankful for? The calm before the storm. It looks like we are about to be hit with a very nasty snowstorm over Christmas and Christmas Eve. *yuck*

  3. I like your OCD-ness. :)
    Lindsay and I watched Elf the other night...for the 100th time. I love it. Our favorite line: "Oh..he's an angry elf"
    Have a great day, Suz

  4. I love Elf! And we have one of those fancy cutters, it works well!

    I think sending a little boy to the principal's office for saying Santa isn't real is a bit harsh if you ask me. But then you can read my thoughts on Santa anyways on my blog..

    Hope you have a great Christmas!

  5. Oh my goodness, we love Elf too! 'Smiling's my favorite' :)

    Totally agree on the santa issue. The girls know that the celebration of Jesus' birth is the true meaning of Christmas. But the idea of santa is fun. Every time we see a "store santa" they say "That's not the real santa, just a helper". It won't be too much longer before we have more explaining to do, though. Vivienne did a post on how to talk to your kids about it that was fabulous! I'm going to have to go back and look for it :)

  6. i am thankful for so many things this year...but basically it comes down to the fact that God has supplied all my needs this year. I should write a post about it really.

    elf is great

    My santa thing is we always say "santa is real". Even adults like to believe in santa. I do! santa is magical and always will be. I will never say at any point that he is fake to my kids. Kids just gradually grow to understand that he is "not real" but he is a symbol of christmas that we believe in. My eldest son doesn't really believe anymore at 8 but I tease him and say like well how do you KNOW? and are you SURE? and oh well I guess you won't want any present then for Christmas from Santa so I will just pick something small for you and forget about wrapping and etc etc...he knows that we are just pretending but likes to play along still. My eldest dd got told in school by other kids that he is fake and it was upsetting to her...I forget the age? and then her teacher in CCD at the age of 7 told her he was fake. I was very upset at that!
    The 5, 4 and 2 year old of course still believe in santa.

    anyway I guess I don't see it as lying. Its a tradition and its fun and it is magical and there are so few things out there like that to have fun with.

  7. Elf.. one of my MOST FAVORITE movies ever.. and no, not just fave Christmas ones either.. i love it period!!!!

    have a wonderful Christmas!!!!

  8. Numbering the presents is a great idea. Cute picture of santa with the kids. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

  9. Hi Colleen, i had a girl in 3rd grade tell me that Santa was not real. It hurt and i was REALLY sad. When i went home and asked my mom and she confirmed that in fact there was no Easter bunny or tooth fairy i handled it very well, but when she confirmed that there was no Santa I BALLED!!! I can remember sitting on the hearth just crying. But i never for a second felt mad at my parents or anything. Once i found out, it almost felt like a right of passage, like now i knew a special secret that the other kids didn't know so i had to keep it a secret from them.
    Of course i know nothing about parenting but i can say that i very vividly remember the feeling of waking up on Christmas morning and discovering that Santa had come. That was the BEST feeling! It wasn't even about the presents, it was just the fact that Santa came, he was in my house, he ate the cookies i put out for him, he filled my stocking, it was magic and it was AWESOME!!!! While i would respect any parent's decision, part of me would feel bad for the child who missed out on that "magic." Ever heard of Reba's song?? Ask my sister.
    Sorry for blabbering. Ofc i have no parenting experience but i do have happy memories of being a kid on Christmas morning! :-)

  10. How wonderful! YEah, i saw the commercial for that pop up tape and it looks so easier to use, but we also used the regular scissors and tape. Fun though. :D

    I never saw Elf but I do remember a little seeing the previews. And the Santa thing, I think it's good you told them the truth that Santa is not real, but that there is a real Saint Nicolas. I don't know his story though. I don't remember how young I was but I never believed in Santa. My mom told us that Baby Jesus brought us our gifts. :) But I think it is so wrong that your son got sent to the office for saying santa isn't real. It's not wrong at all. That's injustice! So sorry your son had to go through that. But God sees all.

    How a wonderful and blessed Christmas! :D


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