Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is Your Christmas Gift Good Enough?

Time management has always been difficult for me. I always have more things than I can do, and I feel frustrated when I can't do everything that I hoped I could do. Christmas time is especially frustrating as I would like to make it a good experience for the people in my life, but I find time and money limiting in what I can do. Sometimes I think I just need to relax and enjoy a few of the good things that I think of to do and stop worrying that it will be enough. When I think of what made for good experiences, it was when love was shown. One year we participated with a group in leaving presents secretly on a doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running so the family wouldn't know who left the gifts. Other times we have spent time visiting as we dropped off goodies or gifts. Sometimes the bigger gift is the time spent.
Our family were recipients of Secret Santa gifts several times. The first time was when I was alone with two little girls, and the doorbell rang after 9 p.m. I looked out the window and saw no one at the front door. I started to imagine that maybe someone was planning to break into the house and wanted to see if we were home. I decided not to open the door, but went through the house and made sure every door and window was securely locked. I went to sleep rather nervous about why someone would ring the doorbell that late at night and then not be there. The next morning when I went to go out the front door I discovered a package containing two beautiful dolls left for my little girls. I wondered why I could have been so suspicious when someone just wanted to give my little girls a surprise Christmas gift. There were years when boxes of food, clothing, and toys were left on our front porch. One year a friend gave gift certificates to me before Christmas so I could use them for Christmas shopping for gifts for my daughters. Another year a package arrived through UPS. There was no return address on the package. The driver wanted to know who had sent us the package. We didn't know anyone who was sending a package. There was nothing inside the package either to indicate who it came from. No one ever asked if we received the package that they had sent. We never knew who that package of gifts came from. Then there were the gifts that were handmade or specially selected. Some of the best gifts have been the sacrifices of time and money made to be together as a family at Christmas.
Maybe recording some of your memories of Christmas could be the best gift you could give. Why not write your best Christmas memories and share it with your family. If money is tight, why not write your memories and add photos and make a special Christmas book or make a video and post it on YouTube or Flickr viewable by family or friends as a special gift. Sometimes we don't think we have anything to give, but we can always give memories.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Newsletters

As Christmas approaches many people send out Christmas cards to family and friends. Many of my friends write a newsletter about what has happened in their family during the past year. They include the ages of their children, what grades they are in at school, what talents they have been developing, anything special they have accomplished. They include any significant changes in their lives such as moving to a new home, starting a new job, someone getting married and even illness and death in the family. They include photos of the family. They write about vacations or trips. In other words they create a short family history for the previous year. Such newsletters are great additions to your family's story.
After the rush of the holidays, take time to elaborate on the different events from the previous year. Write down memorable stories. Scrapbook photos from the family vacation or family-get-togethers. Write down what you learned from certain experiences. If you moved, did you find a faster or better way to pack up or unpack. If you were sick, did you learn something new that helped you get better faster. If you started a new job, what did you do to get the new job. Writing down what you learned may help you sometime in the future when you may have forgotten what you learned. It may also help another family member as they deal with a similar challenge.
If a new member was added to your family, write down what was exciting about their joining your family. If new friends or neighbors came into you life, write about them. Include pictures too. If someone left your life, write about them. Death, divorce, moving away, going to school all leave holes in your life that you can record your feelings about. Use this time of year when you reflect on what has happened over the course of the year to remind you of the things you want to write down so you can always remember them.

Damian -