My laptop charging cord broke during the holidays and I was not able to blog or record anything for a number of days. Now that February is upon us I am finally reflecting upon the photos and events that occurred that I have not recorded.
Our family has many traditions during the holidays, specifically Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We have the children do a Secret Santa gift exchange with one another. At the beginning of December the children draw names and then they have to shop for the chosen name. Keeping it a secret is part of the fun and the guessing that goes on during the holidays. Even though Julia was not going to be with us, she still was able to participate. (Alexis flew thru Salt Lake City on her way to France, so she picked up a suitcase full of gifts, one of those being a secret santa gift!) When Christmas Eve approaches all the children are filled with anticipation about who got what from who! It is so fun!
This is Austin receiving his Secret Santa gift from Julia. Thank goodness for technology. She could still be with us, just not tangible!
So, on Christmas Eve another tradition we have, that I grew up with, is that the children get to open one gift from under the tree and their Secret Santa gift AFTER they share a talent with everyone. This talent could be playing the piano, singing, displaying art work, etc. The kids are encouraged to be creative. Sometimes it is last minute preparations knowing they can only open a gift IF they share something! This year the kids kind of cheated and combined forces and sang together! It was funny for Aaron and I, but we loved it and it is memorable.
After they shared their talents, they each got to choose a gift from under the tree to open and their Secret Santa gift. Each child tries to guess who gave them their gift, etc. It is fun! I love watching my kids give thanks to one another! It warms my heart!
After the gifts are exchanged and opened, we relax, turn off the lights and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Some of us can stay awake, others are too excited to even think of sleep and some of us want to sleep but know that the night is still too young to sleep! 😉
Christmas morning greets us with bells ringing. We have a tradition that I have carried on from my younger years, that the first person to wake up gets to ring our Christmas bell to wake everyone up and to ring in the Christmas morning. It is awesome! As a 41 year old, I still get excited when I hear that bell. The children all try to compete with who will get to ring the bell. Aaron and I always give the children a time when the bell can be rung, nothing earlier! Usually it is 7 or 7:30am. Once everyone is up, the kids line up and proceed to see if Santa visited!
Our family room is upstairs here in France, so the children had to line up and go upstairs instead of their usual going downstairs! Everyone was so happy with the gifts Santa left for them! Of course, our most wonderful gift during Christmas is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! How blessed we truly are to have the knowledge of His sacrifice and love for each one of us!
This year for our traditional Christmas feast we invited a few of the single members from our church congregation to eat with us and spend the evening. They were without family or a place to go for Christmas. We did not want them to be alone! It was wonderful to all be together and share the gift of friendship and love with one another! Somehow I was able to pull off another successful Christmas, even with Julia thousands of miles away!
Rene Zogo and Ivrahim Jean Marc Bruno