Mom and dad helping us pick out our tree, dad is an expert!
In 2010 we went all out with what we thought we wanted and what we thought would make us really happy. Together we went and bought a new video camera, camera, Ipad, Ipod, Xbox/Kinect/games, and some other random electronics. McKay gave one of my friends money to go shopping for him and buy me a bunch of clothes from Anthro. We wrapped everything up and were so excited for Christmas morning. In the morning we unwrapped all of our gifts and really didn't enjoy it all that much. I loved my clothes but it would have been nice if McKay wasn't as surprised by what I pulled out as I was (because he had no clue what was in the boxes). I don't think I bought anything special for McKay besides what we got together. Overall it was kind of dull, what a disappointment. Our Christmas turned into how many big things we could buy and how many presents we could put under the tree. No thought or love or planning or anything went into the gifts we gave. We decided that the reason that Christmas wasn't that great was because we didn't do thoughtful gifts and if we did that then the next year would be better.
By the time Christmas 2011 rolls around we have learned about a charity down in Mexico called Families Helping Families. The charity asks for donations either per person or per family and then they ask that you come to Mexico December 26-31 to help build homes for people that really truly need them and have earned them. McKay and I decided that instead of buying gifts we would donate to the charity and go down there to experience something new. So that's what we did. We weren't running around the stores trying to find something the other one wanted, we weren't battling parking lots or long lines or crowded stores. Best, Christmas, EVER! It was so relaxing and peaceful.
I still decorated my tree even though we left Christmas day
We went down to Mexico and had such an amazing time building a home. I was pregnant so I was the photographer and the person telling people when their bricks weren't straight, it was a great job. We came home and discussed the difference in all 3 Christmas's and talked about how that was our favorite so far and that we wanted to make it our new tradition. Then to further our belief that that's what we wanted to do, we saw a video Jimmy Kimmel put together about parents videotaping their kids opening awful gifts. It was actually shocking, the kids threw the biggest fits, screamed, cried, hit and yelled at their parents, all because they got a bad gift. Oh heck no! That was not going to be my kids, spoiled little brats! Although I love Christmas and I love the gifts, we decided that we would teach our kids that Christmas is Christ's day, not yours. We will still decorate like crazy, make holiday treats, host Christmas parties, sing carols, send Christmas cards, have stockings and yes still have presents. But the emphasis is not going to be on the presents and there are not going to be hoards of them just because thats what most kids expect. We decided that on birthdays we will go all out and make the child a king or queen for the day and just shower them with gifts galore and with a huge party because that's their day. They should be recognized on their day just like Christ should be recognized on his day. So we will now be doing extra service on and around Christmas because the best gift we can give anyone is our time and talents. I hope to teach my children to serve as Christ served and to not be self absorbed and to want to help others and put service before their own selfish wants. Although I love everything about FHF and plan to make it a new tradition, I know that I wont always be able to make it every year but I hope to do some kind of service and donate what would have been gift money to a deserving organization. Wish us luck!
Look for my next blog on Families Helping Families to learn more about that wonderful organization.