Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had such the happiest Christmas this year, despite having no family around us. I think there were plenty of "warm fuzzy" feelings because we truly made a special effort to focus on giving. I promise we aren't trying to toot our own horn here by listing these service opportunities, but we are just happy to share ideas (leave some of your own in the comment box if you wish) and illustrate how easy it is to give a lot during this season. Giving service is the perfect way to commemorate the birth of God's ultimate gift, the Savior Jesus Christ.

We did a sneaky Secret Santa gift to a person we know who lives alone, as well as some monetary donations that felt generous for our budget, and the aforementioned treat plates delivered to a bunch of lucky people. We also brought dinner to a sweet widow on Christmas Eve. But my favorite gifts were several that we gave at the last minute--unplanned and non-obligatory. One of these types of gifts we gave was to a family who already qualified for Salvation Army assistance. When we dropped off our humble offering to them, they turned around and gave us three times what we had given them! They handed us several bags of fun which I think they had just received from the Salvation Army: chocolates, Christmas decorations, toys, etc. which brightened our holiday immeasurably. It seemed like a gift to them that we allowed them to give back, if that makes sense. Not that all those material things make a Christmas special, but the fact that they were given out of such love and simple circumstances touched us. We also felt grateful for the way our church friends reached out to us. Since we could not be near family this Christmas, two other families in our congregation invited us to join their big, jolly holiday dinners.
We went to one dinner on Christmas Eve where that Lo enjoyed playing with other kids. That meal had an international feel to it, with French Dip sandwiches (*which are not really that French, we learned), wontons (made by yours truly), Mexican bean dip (okay, more American than Mexican, but play along with me here), and the classic raspberry sherbet punch as well as a whole table full of delectable desserts.

Dinner on Christmas Day was a more dignified affair: the classic roasted turkey consumed in company of missionaries and our former bishop/his family. We brought a cobbler and some sugar cookies to this meal. The cobbler was a great creation in which I used some of the pancake mix that has been a recent addition to our food storage. =) The week leading up to Christmas, we had lots of holiday fun of course. Here is Lo with Santa at the children's Christmas party put on by our apartment complex. Doesn't this Santa have the twinkliest eyes? He is actually one of our maintenance workers for his day job, and we smiled when his tatooed arm stuck out of his red suit for a minute. I was interested to see how that Lo would do on Santa's lap. Our Lo wasn't overly comfortable, as evidenced by his posture in the photo, but he wasn't distraught either. Just ready to get back down on the floor to run around. He had a great time pilfering the helium balloons that were supposed to be decorating the room. I'm pretty sure he even learned how to say "balloon" that night. Though he also calls them the same word he uses for "ball."

Here he is a couple weeks earlier, sitting on Santa's lap for the first time. Again, the uncomfortable face but still no tears. We figure a couple weeks in Hong Kong gave that Lo practice having contact with strangers so it helped him be more calm with Santa. Jerry is wearing a reindeer balloon hat. We waited in line for more than an hour to get that hat.

This post is feeling longish, so I'll just continue talking about our Christmas another day. Stay tuned. =)


Kristen said...

Looks and sounds like a wonderful holiday!

Becca said...

Love it! We tried to focus more on giving this year as well. We did the 12 Days of Christmas for a couple that both of them have been out of work (leaving essential, every day items), gave plates of goodies, offered services such as free photo sessions, babysitting, etc and more.
We really did very little as far as buying gifts and yet, this was one of the best Christmas's we have had in recent years.

Valerie said...

Cute little Lo Lo!

Morgan said...

So I came across a Christmas tradition this year that I hope to implement from here on out. You get out the stockings on the first of the month and then each day everyone in the family writes a little note of gratitude to someone else in the family and puts it in their stocking. On Christmas morning, everyone gets to read all their notes. An added bonus: no need to come up with stocking stuffers, which I always seem to forget about and not budget for.

By the way, Lo is SO CUTE!!!!! I love the one on the couch with his first Christmas bear.

Valerie said...

Nice giving ideas!