Gifts from the Heart

I read today a good post on simplifying gift-giving for Christmas at Starry Sky Ranch. I wrote a lengthy comment there, and decided to make it my first blog post in a long while.

Great post, Kim!

I have been thinking about this for several years now, too. It is not always easy to find the time to make hand-made gifts for going-on-eight children, plus In-Laws, cousins, etc., nor is it possible to find the money to buy natural toys and gifts for so many. But it is worth the effort. The kids help me make special cookies to send to their cousins in another state, I sew one more Christmas stocking each year for the youngest child (some day I may be caught up), and make cloth or painted wood ornaments for the extended family who would appreciate such things.

St. Nicholas brings much-needed socks, slippers or tights on Dec. 6, any presents from out-of-town family are opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, and presents from each other are opened on Epiphany. Thankfully, the rest of the family understands that we don’t want the flashiest new toy on the market, so we get warm clothes, simple toys and holy cards, nice thank-you note cards to use, or even gift cards for groceries or a restaurant, for the most part.

We don’t get everything we want or need. We don’t give everything family and friends want or need. We do what we can to give comfort and joy, and try to let God do the rest.

So far it has made for joyous family memories as we gather on St. Lucy’s day to share hot cocoa and a honey cake, or Christmas Eve to eat a traditional Mexican dinner before Tata reads “‘Twas the night before Christmas….” and sing “Joy to the World” at Christmas morning Mass. Loving each other is the best gift we can give, whether it shows itself in the form of a hand-sewn Raggedy Ann doll or a Christmas stocking with an orange and a walnut in the toe, or a smile and a “Merry Christmas!”

May God bless you this Advent as we all prepare our hearts for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. May the gifts we give each other bear fruit in eternal life.

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