My favorite part of Christmas was the gift exchange between my siblings. I am not sure how it started, but we would give gifts to every sibling...all eight of us. We always used our own money. It was expensive and tiring, but the anticipation of giving those gifts was without a doubt, the highlight of Christmas morning. Sometimes they were homemade and sometimes store bought, but those gift exchanges gave me the opportunity at a very early age to experience the joy that comes from giving rather than receiving.
I am hoping that somehow I will be able to teach this same joy to my kids. They are still young enough that the only joy they feel is anticipating how many times they can revise their Christmas list to Santa..."getting" still seems to be what Christmas is all about for them.
Here are Lauren, Sophie and Christian at our ward breakfast telling the Jolly Man himself what they would like to see at our house on Christmas Day.
Determined to help them experience the joy of giving, I took my kids to the store yesterday and told them that they should pick out small gifts for each other. I started to see the magic really happen for them as they picked out gifts that they knew would be the perfect gift for each other. I loved it.
We wrapped them up and now our tree is overflowing with gifts. Christian even said that he is sure that when Santa arrives, he will look at all the gifts and have to ask himself is he has already been here. So sweet.