Today is my birthday, the first day of December. Most people don’t know, but receiving gifts is not one of my love languages. I love to give gifts but don’t enjoy getting gifts. What I do enjoy is relationship, people, and friendship. Time given is much more precious to me than money spent. Money is a renewable resource. Time is not.
When I was raising up my kids, I wanted to teach them the selfless act of gift giving, but I also knew there are other people like me in the world that would prefer a different kind of gift, the kind that money can’t buy. I believe that time spent together is a precious gift and nothing they could ever buy me would satisfy my desire to just be with them. I wanted them to understand that gift giving is a skill. It’s not about spending money it’s about thinking about the other person. What they want, desire, or need.
Every year on the first of December, my birthday, instead of sending them out with their dad to pick out gifts for me, I loaded them in the car and drove to the nearest bookstore. I told them that the best gift that they can give me is to spend time with me doing something that we love to do.
What I loved was them, and my desire was to make Christmas time last. To stretch the excitement out for the whole month and not just focus on one evening or one morning. So, we started this tradition.
At the bookstore each kid could pick out a new Christmas book, and every night starting on my birthday we would read one book. Each year I would buy three or four new books, building my collection. Each evening one kid got to pick their favorite. As the collection grew, and if the kids were patient, we would read more than one. We would end on Christmas night with the story of Christmas.
This was a tradition that I started when they were very young, as they got older this tradition become very hard to keep up with. It turns out teenagers don’t enjoy cuddling up to mom while she reads to them. However, we all remember this tradition from their early childhood and it is a precious memory.
Christmas time is such a special time. It’s the time to truly focus on each other. It’s a time to make memories. Turn off the TV Christmas specials. For an hour or two put the phones and electronics away and just sit and read to those babies or let them read to you. Enjoy it while it lasts, babies don’t stay babies forever.
One Christmas book every night for 25 days. It will be time well spent.