This was our first year to reserve gift opening for January 6th, Epiphany, the traditional day for many to remember the wise men bringing gifts to the Christ child. We told the kids early on that this was the plan, and they have been on board with the ‘program’ from the beginning. They understand the spiritual, ritual and financial reasons for this trial.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me, but with all the talk and preparation, I never thought about equipping the kids for Christmas Day in regard to friends and family. So, when cousins called on speaker phone to exclaim in joy what they got, the kids handled it remarkably well, considering they were taken off-guard. But when they were asked what they had received, my daughter faltered. I sent my son off to chat with my nephew and held my girl while her shoulders shook.
She was ashamed and embarrassed to be bothered. But I am thankful for the opportunity to have the quiet time with her Christmas morning. We prayed, saying happy birthday to Jesus and inviting Him to be the center of this special day. Then we got focused.
First we made a birthday cake. While it was in the oven, my gal and I ran out to feed our friends’ cat. By the time we made it back, the cake was out of the oven so we played a family game. Next we did a ‘spa’ time with masks, mani-pedis and the kids’ first-ever viewing of the movie (the George C Scott version) A Christmas Carol. Even the boys let us slather masks on their game faces while we watched the movie.
It was a blessed time of family togetherness and thoughtful thankfulness to the Lord. We are continuing to wait for gift time, so our little experiment isn’t officially over. But We made it past the hard part and had some digging-deep style conversations about how we live and the choices we make. I think next year we will continue with this very new tradition, but will add the “Santa Game with Stockings.” (I actually ran out today and bought the stockings and stuffers, so even if next December is tight, we won’t need to worry.)