Holiday gifts

I love this time of year.  So many houses are covered in sparkling lights; light posts and columns are covered in greenery and bows; everyone seems to be telling inspirational stories; and the excitement is builing among kids who know that Santa is on his way.

Speaking of Santa, my kids got to see him last night as part of KVUE’s Santa special.  I feel very grateful that I was invited to attend this year, even though I no longer work there.

Luke’s like to call him “his” Santa, because he’s seen him every year since he was a baby.

I’m not sure he asked Santa for anything this year.  He was too happy with the candy cane he received with a small ornament to mark the occasion.

I’ve read various posts lately by people decrying the commercialism of Christmas.  I no longer watch TV (except some clips online here and there), so this is the first year I’m not bombarded by the constant pelting of Christmas advertisements.  I have to say — it’s really nice.  But I understand the frustration that Christmas buying has gotten a bit out-of-hand — overshadowing Christmas GIVING.

Heck — getting presents is Luke’s favorite part of Christmas.

But I’ve been trying to be sneaky and emphasizing all of the other parts of Christmas that I enjoy — the music, the decorating, the feasting and the giving.  And this year, we’re making a lot of things ourselves in order to slow down and spend extra time together.

For example — I just bought a plaster of Paris kit to make handprint ornaments with the kids.  It should be a lot of fun!  And we’ve invited over another family to make gingerbread houses.  And I won’t be using a kit!  I’m going to make gingerbread and royal icing myself and everything.

And we’re also making some of the gifts we’re giving.  Earlier this year I made blackberry and strawberry jam.  We also just had a huge bounty from the persimmon tree, and yesterday, I made spiced persimmon butter with the kids. (Check out the gallery below!)

While making gifts does take more of en effort that picking up something from the grocery store or mall, it is not only cheaper, but also more special many times.  I love the handmade touch.  And I hope the people who receive my handmade gifts understand how much care and attention went into creating them.  But even if they don’t — just thinking that they’ll enjoy them is enough for me.  After all — we remember life’s experiences, right?  That’s what it’s all about.

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