Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Part 1: The Plan

Christmas is over. It seemed to come and go so quickly. But I think the recap is going to take a while. Therefore, I've decided to break  it apart into sections. Part 1 is 'The Plan'.


Here's how 'The Plan' started. Last year, Christmas was crazy. There were piles of presents under the tree. We got the kids some stuff, but they got a whole bunch of things from their grandparents. LilKat1 had so much trouble getting to sleep because of all the presents. At one point, I went to check on him and he said to me:


And it wasn't really Christmas he couldn't get his mind off of, it was the presents. Christmas day itself was even worse. To begin with, LilKat1 got really mad when we started reading the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible because he just wanted to get to his presents. And when he started opening them, he was really just tearing through them without even really stopping to see what it was that he was opening. By the afternoon, our living room looked like Santa's workshop had exploded. There were pieces of toys and games strewn all over the floor and hunks of Christmas wrapping shrapnel covering the furniture. Not a pretty sight. It was quite stressful actually. The whole day was just so presents-focused. It really bothered me.

I decided that this was not going to happen again. I'm fine with gift giving during Christmas. I'm fine with grandparents giving their grandkids piles of presents. But I'm not ok with kids not being thankful for what they get. And I'm not ok with Jesus not being the focus of Christmas. My solution was to have almost all of the presents opened before Christmas. With the presents out of the way, Christmas could be just a big Happy Birthday party for Jesus. And by spreading the opening of the presents out over a whole month rather than all at once, the kids would not be as overwhelmed and would have some time to appreciate the things that they got.

It worked out really well. Our plan was to give the boys a present on each Sunday during Advent. On Christmas Day, they would still have the gifts in their stockings, as well as the things they picked out for each other, plus a couple of small things from us. The presents from the grandparents came a couple of weeks before Christmas. They were separated into small piles. The boys knew ahead of time which pile they could open on which day. And during this whole time, I kept explaining to the boys the reason why we were doing things this way. I think it worked. One time, My Friend Who Lies came over and LilKat1 gave him a very good explanation of why they got to open their presents before Christmas.

And on Christmas day, LilKat1 was actually very excited about reading about Jesus' birth from the Bible. Ok, I admit that right after we were done reading, he shouted 'Let's go open the stockings!' But he truly enjoyed listening to the story. And when I told him that before we opened the stockings, we were going to pray together, he happily joined in. Yeah, our living room still looked like a Merry Chris-mess when it was over. But we have some ideas on how to fix that next year. It's still a work in progress.

Anyhow, be sure to stay tuned for Part 2: The Tree.

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