FF: Christmas Gift Rotation

Christmas gift preparations begin in earnest around Thanksgiving at our home.

The children are already asking for the Christmas Giving Rotation Charts to know who they are giving to this year.

So I dug it out and posted it here, so now I can always remember where it is! (That’s a bonus for having a blog!)

In our family, we love to give homemade gifts to each other. We hang signs up on the door of our office, and it becomes Santa’s Workshop. Opening them on Christmas morning has become what the children anticipate almost more than anything else. They cannot wait to see their siblings open their gifts. It’s awesome.

Next year will be the first year that someone is gone from our family during Christmas. I know that talking to Nate on the phone on Christmas Day will be the highlight of our celebration then! So this year might be our last year to be all together for a while. We have got to relish every minute.

Even though it can take a lot of extra effort on my part to help the children make things, it has been worth it, because now they know how to make things. They may not be “profesh” as one of our children says, but they are definitely gifts of love that create really sweet feelings and memories.

Von Trapp book

Years ago when Sarah was tiny (1995), I read The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. In her story, Maria tells how their family made gifts for one another:

There came a time when we hardly got around to reading or singing together because we were so busy, and that was the birthday season. In a large household there are a number of family holidays which occur yearly; the birthdays and feast days….Put both customs together and, since there were nine of us, there were eighteen holidays right away. It was a matter of course that the lucky one whose holiday came around could expect a present from everyone in the house; and of course, one didn’t just go to a store and buy with cold money something turned out by a factory with no relationship at all to the young sister or brother. How could you possibly get for any money that particular dwelling Martina’s dwarfies needed, a cross between a foxhole and a little cave, interwoven with roots, with a carpet of moos, with furniture made of spruce twigs!

A loving heart and gifted fingers can produce a wonderland of little miracles, especially after the room next to the library has been turned in to a workshop with work benches, a band saw, a lathe, and a circular saw.

But whatever the day may be, it is turned into a feast only by that genuine affection of which a large family is a real powerhouse. If people would only understand that you cannot buy feasts with money. They must come out of your heart, out of that love which makes one inventive. I don’t want to say that money must necessarily spoil a feast. If used rightly, it can enhance and add a good deal to it; but only–and this is very important–if it comes on top of the other, never as a substitute. The foundation has always to be this mutual fondness without which there can be no festive spirit. A birthday table can be laden with flowers from the fields and presents made with the clever fingers of your children, the monetary value of which is only cents, but which to you is priceless. (pp.64-65)

I wanted this for our family! So we began, when the children were old enough, to help them make one special gift for the person that they were giving to that year. They were mostly on their own for the gifts for the rest of the siblings. Let me tell you that making sure every child has a gift for all of the other children and parent (7×7=49) takes some planning. But it all works out. And now they all are old enough to make sure they have a gift for everyone.

One of our funniest Christmas gift stories is of when I found some item–a rock with the word “Jesus” on it, and thought it belonged to Eliza. Eliza took it and re-gifted it to Nate. On Christmas morning, when the gift was opened, Sarah, to whom it originally belonged, said something like, “Hey! That’s mine! I wondered where that was!” We all busted up laughing, especially me and Eliza. We love remembering that story every Christmas day since.

We’re planning what to make around here…

Happy Gifting (or Re-gifting!),

Liz 🙂



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