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


the gift


I have such mixed emotions about gift-giving. Especially at this age. We feel compelled to give them something to open Christmas morning - because we remember the joy that went into our own floating hearts as kids. I was probably 5 years old when I received my first gift. We slept near the radiator and Christmas morning was like any other morning in NYC. Except, Mom woke us up and said "someone" brought us a special gift. As if they had fallen from the sky, I got a plastic pool table and Wagma received a Donkey Kong Jr. game by our pillows. How did this happen? That feeling - of not knowing. Not expecting... only happens once.

It is a natural unfortune that we begin to expect. Anticipate. And then even desire certain things for the sake of "Christmas." It wasn't until my younger sister turned 18 that we decided - as a family - that it was better to save or donate than to wrap and unwrap a gift we already had a notion for.

My Dad - God bless him - enjoyed Christmas the most. Because he was never "in" on the shopping sprees or conversations, "what do you want this year?" He simply drank his hot tea and watched. And we couldn't help but shower the person with absolute no expectations with the most gift boxes. It was so much easier... And the best part - he loved them all. Whether it was a bottle of cologne or undershirts - he appreciated the gestures and they were all put to good use. It's been the toughest for my kid sister to accept this new tradition - and I empathize. I miss it too. But it's not the gifts I miss - it's that childhood feeling I use to have this time of year...

I struggle with finding the right balance on how to fully embrace and celebrate this time honored tradition while Ava and Noah are still young. I imagine that as they get older, the holidays will mean different things. And that's what worries me.

I thought 3 gifts for Ava and Noah each wouldn't be overwhelming. And although it wasn't in hindsight since they are toys that will grow with them, the question still lingered - did we do too much?

Christmas morning received the brunt of months of stressful days - and it didn't bring out the best in all of us. Driven with anxiety and deflated by exhaustion, Aaron and I were tremendously busy with our jobs on top of trying to maintain some sort of sanity from our families.

Huh? Where did it go?

But what I did love and enjoy so much was seeing Ava and Noah enjoy every moment on their own schedule today. From the lollipops they found prior to seeing the wrapped gifts under the tree and enjoying it more than opening presents... to baking sugar cookies with Grandma [who was graciously patient and let Ava take the lead]. It is their natural tendencies to capture what's great and let go of what's not. New toys? Who needs them? When you can share a cookie under a blanket with a loved one?

Sugar cookies

To be ourselves and be around those who respectfully love us and bring out the best in us - is the greatest gift we can exchange. Ava and Noah taught me that. And it is with my greatest hope, that they will uphold this as the new family tradition - for the sake of Christmas.


  1. The last part of my comment on the x-mas eve your post should go up here, it fits better.

    I like the message on this one and i get where you are coming from. After spending x-mas with my family it was good to see everyone getting presents they more or less needed and were going to use instead of things they wanted, with the exclusion of the little ones who got a toy or two. In out family we draw names for who gives what gift since there are 29 of us 13 grandkids 14 parents 2 grandparents. It is also customary in my family for god parents to give a gift also.

    My uncle bought my two female cousins crockpots. I thought that was hilarious.(since them being 23, 24 they need to slow cook their meals while they are at work)

    Grandpa raked in the goodies, he got a new Carhart jacket, sound reducing ear muffs, and 2 digital picture frames that will probably never be used since they can barely work their digital cam.

    I got some cookies and a pair of hunting socks which i will be using shortly since tomorrows high is supposed to be 6 :)

    Ok i think i have gone on long enough.

  2. Wow - seriously! That has got to be the biggest gift exchange morning ever! Such a blessing to have so many gather for this occasion.

    There's a catch 22 with drawing names - everyone has to love that idea in order for it to work. If not, you end up still buzzing around asking questions - on what to get the person you drew because you don't know their interests say, as well as someone you'd spend more time with. And then there's the gender thing... having the guys pick out presents for the girls... not pretty.

    I love the ear muffs your Grandpa got - what a fantastic idea! I'm with you on the digital frame... the concept is great - but doesn't work well if you aren't in the habit of uploading your digitals.

    The crockpots are hilarious - but so fantastic! And to me, thoughtful. Considerate of their time, he got them a gift that they will no doubt use time and time again.

    Hunting socks - are they different from any other kind of socks? They sound pretty serious. And I hope they are keeping you warm today.... 6 degrees? Oof!

  3. Beautifully said Zarlacht! As you know, we struggled with the whole gift giving thing this year and are hoping to inspire new family traditions as well, especially at Christmas. I guess it because as we get older, our focus switches and it becomes more about the time spent with loved ones that we cherish rather than opening gift, after gift, after gift. But I'm with you, I do miss that little magical spark felt as a child when Christmas time rolls around. I guess it goes back to everything being simple when you're a kid and enjoying moments natually.


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


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