Wednesday, January 1, 2014

CHRISTmas- the season of Thanks?

As we prepared the boys, and ourselves , for the Christmas celebrations through nightly advent readings etc., we also felt it was important to talk about presents. You see, in the world of adoptive families, even something as seemingly simple as Christmas can be a very confusing concept to a child from a foreign land.

What is Christmas?
Why do we give gifts?
Why do people decorate?
Who is Santa Claus?
Why are we always lighting candles?

These are all questions that we've received from one or another of our boys.

So, in addition to the education of our Savior's birth, we also find ourselves covering all the above topics too.

As it pertained to gift giving, we tried to keep it simple. Not just simple to manage, but simple to understand. 

Tom and I really wanted our kids to see gift giving as a true symbol of the gift of salvation that we can receive.

So, we did two things this year that were somewhat new for our clan.

First, we sat all the boys down and explained the significance of gift giving at Christmas time. We clarified that gifts were not dependent on one's "behavior" so much as a reflection of the love of the giver.
(Much like the undeserved love we receive from Christ).
 We also explained that Christmas was not a time to be lavish, and it was not a time where one gets everything they've ever wanted.
 (It may seem common sense to some of you, but for many adopted children, the preconceived notions they have about "life in America" include a life of ease and luxury.)
Personally, I am grateful that this is not the case for our children. So, yes, we covered that ground as well.

In keeping with the simple theme, we told each boy they could expect to receive modest gifts in the following categories:

Something you want
 (within reason)
Something you need
 (as determined my your parents)
Something to wear
Something to read 

Secondly, we instituted a brand new tradition this year.

As I considered how to make a practical connection for our boys on seeing each gift as a representation of our many blessings from God, I thought how nice it would be to verbally do so. 

So, this year, as each gift was opened, we asked the children to share one thing that they considered a blessing from the Lord. 

(Again, a simple task for those who were raised in a Christian home where the concept of thankfulness is routinely taught, not so much for children from hard places).

Well, the "big day" finally arrived. 

{I find it important to pause here and say that, in many adoptive situations, the best plans in the world, the purest intentions ever, cannot guarantee that these things will sink in or that they will be readily accepted by your children.  Most experts will tell you that one of the biggest mistakes an adoptive parent can make, especially around "important" occasions, is to expect too much. It is often a train wreck when we expect that perfect postcard moment to happen because when it doesn't, which really is more often than not, we are so disappointed and disillusioned, that we have a hard time seeing any blessing in the day at all!}

That said, I was BLOWN away that my children not only complied with this extra "responsibility" on Christmas day, but they seemed to really embrace it! 
 (Especially the one child that I expected to pull back and either A. pretend he didn't understand or B. make it clear that he couldn't think of a single thing to be thankful for)

Here are some photos of our fun morning for your enjoyment!
He couldn't figure out why he got a Clemson pullover when
Cameron is the one who loves this team so much!

Stand Tall!
Love me some Wild Olive Tees! 

Handmade for Mom by Connor. Yes, you read that right. Connor.

Books for the beginning reader!

And you thought you would never get one!

I will refrain from any caption here! LOL

Mom, socks?

Enough said!

The "big gift" for my three older sons.
Thank God for Black Friday prices! 

Beginner level indoor helicopter.
He's getting quite good at this now!

Made this boy happy!

The true Clemson fan of our household!

Another precious hand made gift from Cooper!

Tom's annual gift from my Mother and Charles.
That is his "happy face".

OK, so it is educational!  Don't hate!

A REQUIREMENT in a house full of boys!

My "reader" LOVES Percy Jackson!

This boy has waited literally 5 years to get a ROBOT!
He was over the moon excited! 

Lastly, I leave you with a video of our Christmas moments where you can hear for yourselves what the children are most thankful for!

Merry CHRISTmas friends!


Mindy said...

I'll challenge them in MarioKart anyday!! Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

The video made my day!

God Bless you all!

Your friends in Texas