...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


the gift of wonder

We tried something new this year - like the Neiman Marcus Adolphus Children's Parade, benefiting the Children's Medical Center. When we found a corner to watch the spectacle from, we realized we had actually missed all the floats.

In between Dallas skyscrapers, we chased Santa's shadow until we finally met face to face -from the best view...

Christmas Parade

Christmas Parade

While watching the kids take in the sights, I asked myself if this experience was worth it [running around the house to get ready, driving to downtown and avoiding a car accident before parking... spilling my coffee all over the stroller and my jeans while running to catch glimpses of giant balloon characters in the sky?]

If my Dad could see me now, he'd shake his head and say I'm crazy for even stepping outside of my house on this cold winter day. He'd say that the kids should be at home, and that I'm taking risks with their safety... what if they catch a cold? Or worse, get lost? Hearing his voice in my head makes me smile, because I know he loves us all too much.

I came to the conclusion that when we do things unexpected of us - and immerse ourselves inside a bigger picture - we are inevitably creating opportunities for our children to experience great things.

And it is in their wonder, that we, as parents, get to see the world, and grow as a family.

Bring their wonder to life, and create a family tradition that is unexpected. Now more than ever, is the time to teach our little ones about the holidays and how they can be a part of something bigger than the picture we have painted for them.

Noah at parade

Ask family members to make a donation to a local charity in your family's name.
Pick a charity that focuses on issues you care about as a family. What you are passionate about - chances are loved ones will be too. Offer family and friends the opportunity to experience the joy of giving by letting them know in advance or sending them info in your annual greeting sentiment. Enlist the help of Charity Navigator to learn about individual programs in the US.

Exchange the gift-exchange mentality. Instead of buying presents for each other, gather resources and adopt a family less fortunate. There are several local programs that start pairing families together for the holiday season right after Thanksgiving.

Buy two. While shopping for your little ones, consider buying two sets. When you know how much your daughter would love a new tutu - the probability that another two-year old would love one - is certain. Before you get home from the store, drop off your item at a local participating business, school or church.

Give handmade. I get mushy when I receive something handmade. Whether a card or a piece of jewelry, the time a friend spends crafting with me in mind, is priceless. Give a piece of yourself and creativity by tackling that project you've left behind months/years ago and make some thing special for someone on your list. Recycle a wool sweater into a purse. Reupholster a container with beautiful fabric as a table top piece or jewelery box. Knit booties for a baby...or a pet animal for a toddler using fleece [Aaron can help you with these]- the ideas are endless.

Buy handmade. If you don't have the time or the desire to sit still to create something unique, consider buying from local artists who do. Many online stores support the time honored tradition of handmade and have made it easy for you to shop and support the movement. Try Etsy.com or the fair trade market, where you are literally helping to alleviate poverty and working conditions in global countries. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving...
Suggestions: Original Good, Global Exchange Store, Handmade Expressions

If you have young children, this is the perfect time to discuss family celebrations and traditions for the future years. Consider integrating one or more of these ideas - or better yet, come up with your own on how your family can embrace the holiday season together.


  1. Thank you Ze - it's so great to hear from you today!


  2. How nice of you to notice. Even though I have my back turned, you are still able to give me such a nice compliment. You are too nice!


    For much of the parade, we were literally running along side streets trying to get ahead of the parade just so we could get one view like the one in the first picture. When Zarlacht snapped that photo of Ava perched up on my shoulder, her eyes were as big as saucers. I remember her stating loud enough for anyone close to us to hear "Mommy! Daddy! It's Santa Clown!"

    There was one other moment during the parade that I will not forget. At one intersection we stopped at, we were behind 4 or 5 rows of people. I wanted Ava to get a good view, so i lifted her up high above my head so she could see the floats coming by. She insisted i bring her back down... so I did. I told her I wanted her to see the parade coming by and she told me she could see the lights without needing to be lifted up. I asked her 'What lights?' So she pointed through the crowd of people with her little frozen fingers. I followed the imaginary line she was making in between 2 people and above another and there it was. It was a stop light.

    'Look Daddy! Now its green!'

  3. Wow! That is a nice view! You need to send that photo in to them for their promo next year.

    I absolutely LOVE this entry!!! Zarlacht, I can tell you and I are reading the same books and trying to find a similar path in life :)

    Two Holiday Traditions Corbin and I are starting (or re-starting) this year, and want to keep going when/if we have kids:

    1. Giving to charities for Christmas Gifts (which we first heard about from you a year ago…thank you). We found this site as well: https://www.justgive.org/

    2. And picking from our local mall’s Angel Tree. Corbin and I were excited this Holiday Season to have renewed our Angel Tree tradition. We had a wonderful time choosing from the tree. Corbin and I were really touched to see the majority of the gifts were necessities we take for granted: winter coats, mittens, scarves, books, and basic learning toys. We went in thinking we would each select one child, but ended up both selecting a boy and girl. Corbin and I had an absolute blast shopping for their gifts.

    Our mall’s local Angel Tree was created by Christian Community Action. Here’s their site: http://www.ccahelps.org/

    And as always, you’ve given me even more ideas for giving back for the Holidays…thank you, thank you…

    Holiday Hugs,
    …and Aaron you know if we do end up having a little one, a Petnode will be his/her first gift…love your latest bear

  4. When I think of going above and beyond the norm, I always think of you guys! You've always been an inspiration to me in the way you see the world and what you do to make it a better place. I love the idea of buying two, what a great tip for parents wanting to extend gift giving to children other than their own. And of coarse, Wagma inspired me to give my family a charity wish list this year, thank you Wagma.

    We wish you all a magical holiday and a blessed new year!

    Much love,


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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