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Advent: Christmas Tradition

Today is all about Christmas Traditions.  What unique traditions does your family have?  What do you wish you did for Christmas that you don’t do? Maybe a tradition that you’ve seen another family share or something you used to do that you don’t any more.  Share with us.  I love hearing what other people do that’s unique and different.

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I feel like we are in a very unique part of life in my family.  You know the in between stage.  We had tons of amazing traditions growing up and as families grow up and stages of life come, family traditions change as well.  My sister and I are both single so that leaves the door wide open to do what we want when we want.  We don’t have to worry about rushing time with one set of family to be with another.  Or, making sure we see everyone.  It does make for lots of together time.  And, we keep Christmas Day kinda chill with just the 4 of us.

Christmas eve, is a little more active! We spend it with my mom’s side of the family.  Jones Christmas as we like to call it, is a roving experience.  We rotate who hosts and who travels.  Its nice to keep things moving so one person doesn’t have to share the burden of hosting or doing all the cooking.

This year, we are adjusting tradition.  We have always been a big gift exchanging family.  No doubt that we were more than blessed growing up, we were completely spoiled.  A quality I think explains a lot now!  But at the time, I had no idea that everyone was not so lucky.  You know lucky enough to have a pile of gifts under a tree that took up half of the living room.  I mean there were gifts for 10 people, but still. 

Our rule was that you stopped getting kid loads of presents when you graduated college.  I thought it was when you got married, but what do I know! 

Now, there are lots of adults, but its fun to get gifts for my cousin’s kids.  3-4 years ago, we decided to quit doing gifts for all the adults and started drawing names.  You can imagine with 12 people and 6 not eligible for the other 6, we basically drew the same names each year and some redundancy set in.

So, after crossing all our “i’s” and dotting all our “t’s”, (actually I typed it that way accidentally so I’m leaving it!) we came up with a new plan for 2012.  Each couple (mom and dad, grandparents, cousins, aunt/uncle, sisters) will bring the name and contact info for a charity of their choice.  We will draw the charity at random and the couple will give a gift in honor of the person who brought the name of the charity.  That’s the only parameter.  This allows the couple to give as they choose and as they are able.

Taking the pressure out of gift giving has really relieved my mind to freely think about where I want our gift to go.  My sister and I are matched up and I’m really excited about talking about who we want to present as our chairty.  As you can tell from yesterday, I have some really great charities on my heart.  But, I’m anxious to see where my sister thinks it should go and then have the opportunity to share that with our family.
One of the reasons we did this is so the younger kids will see that we are choosing to not have a present so we can give a present.  It was important to our family that the kids see giving as an example and know that Christmas is more than presents under a tree.  Its about sharing hope.  Being a blessing.  Giving over receiveing.  Sharing time with family and not fighting over time or gifts.

In our country, we are blessed.  May we never forget that not everyone shares the blessings we have.  May we always find ways to give beyond ourselves.  May we be ever grateful for the moments we share together.

Happy Advent,
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