This article had quite the impact on me, but I couldn’t do the same thing, given we lived in the country and didn’t live near enough to anyone to duplicate the actions without being discovered.
As I thought about all the awesome “stuff” we do to get ready for Christmas, I reflected on how hard we work to prepare for the holiday with baking, cleaning, shopping, planning and so much more! We pull out decorations and trim the tree, our house and yard in festive lights and often larger than life ornaments!
Finally, Christmas Eve! Our family had the tradition of attending the Christmas Eve service and then each of our five children were allowed to open a single gift from under the tree. The rest had to wait. It was bedtime. Christmas morning dawned. In about thirty minutes all the gifts were opened. The pretty paper that once covered the contents of all the gifts was now littered all over the living room as the children ooohhhed and ahhhhhed over their gifts.
It was now time for cleanup. In many homes the day after Christmas was the day the tree came down and by New Year’s it was like Christmas never happened. Ours, for years, came down the first day all the children went back to school. Everything was stripped away. Somehow it was depressing at that moment. It was done. Over. Finished! What a let down!
It occurred to me I could extend the Christmas holidays with a little bit of creativity. I decided to have each of the children open a single gift for twelve days AFTER Christmas! I admit, my husband thought I was nuts. But I set out to purchase small gifts: pencils, tablets, toothpaste, hair gadgets, small cars for the boys, art supplies and other gifts unique to small children and labeled them appropriately. Using colored comics that came in the Sunday paper, I wrapped each gift and after all other gifts were opened and some put away, I placed these new gifts under the nearly empty tree. (There is always a stray gift that needs delivering after the holiday).
There was such joy as the children gathered around the tree every night right before bedtime to open another gift. The children took turns each night choosing a gift for their siblings. They were positively delighted. The following year, and thereafter, my husband and I also participated in opening a gift every night for the twelve days after Christmas. He bought mine, and I, his. This little tradition carried over into our children’s families who now do the same thing with their children!
So I challenge you to spend time with your family after the “big day.” Remember that Christmas is not about a single day. It’s a feeling we should have year ‘round. It’s what we should “do” every day as a matter of purpose. When we share “Christmas” with our families and friends, we are able to give a “gift” every day of the year!