Giving

Now that Evan is old enough to really understand birthdays, and he’s suffered through June’s birthday without being the center of attention, he is very excited for Christmas. He seems quite clear on the concept of Christmas = presents. I’ve been trying to talk to him about why we have Christmas (simplified: Jesus’ birthday), and why we have presents (simplified: the Wise Men brought presents to baby Jesus). I emphasized that we give gifts to the people we love, so maybe he would enjoy thinking of something to give to June, Jarom, cousins, and friends. This talk went well, but as I’ve done almost no Christmas preparation yet, nothing has really come of it without an example of what Evan should be doing. At church we signed up to provide a stocking for a 2-year-old boy in the neighborhood, and I hope that will be a good chance to let Evan (and June!) help give some small things to someone else.

We have plenty of toys, clothes, and books. (Well, so far as you can ever really have “plenty of books.”) We have a nice house, steady income, two semi-working cars. Friends and family live nearby. We even got a dog. With all of that, it’s been hard for me to think of what to give the kids for Christmas. June just had a birthday, and Evan’s is just around the corner – he’ll be 4! – do they need more toys? Will they be disappointed if I give them practical things, like clothes? (Surely yes.) I’ve settled on getting a large wall map and a few fold-up maps for Evan, who is currently obsessed with anything that vaguely resembles a map. But I’m still stumped about June. Any ideas?

Then there was the issue of what to do for Jarom. We talked a while ago about doing a much smaller Christmas budget this year, and then about doing a joint present. We tossed a few ideas around – a nice evening out, season tickets to the theater or ballet, a new painting. Yesterday we decided on a nice new mattress pad. It’s not very exciting, in terms of a Christmas gift, but now is an especially good time to make the bed more comfortable, for reasons I’ll get into later. It will be a good, practical joint present. We’ll be ok without a big surprise.

Tomorrow I’ll show you our Extremely Crooked Christmas Tree.

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