Gifts From The Heart

Our family starts celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve at Grandma and Papaw's house.
This year, we tweaked the plans just a little bit, hoping it would be more
accommodating for Kensley's nap schedule... at it worked!
We opened gifts at 3:00, and then ate Christmas dinner afterwards.

Rob and Kensley admired the tree while the gifts were sorted.

A tradition that our family does, is read the biblical story of Jesus' birth prior to exchanging gifts. After all, that is the real meaning of Christmas, and I want Kensley to learn why
she receives gifts and doesn't get caught up in all of the
politically correct-media induced emphasis placed on shopping. Keilan read the story this year and did a WONDERFUL job!
She made me proud as she read all the difficult names and cities.
{Mom is now searching for a "Message Translation" for the next generation.}
The book was given to Mom when she was Keilan's age, just 10 years old,
as a gift for playing Mary in their church musical production.
Gifts are opened one at a time, in order of youngest to oldest.
Kensley isn't really old enough to understand the concept of taking turns,
but she was more interested in eating High School Musical fruit snacks,
than she was ripping into her stack of packages.
As tradition would have it, it seems like almost every Christmas a gag gift seems to float around {normally passed back and forth between Rob and Papaw}
but this year the joke was on Tyler... or Molli!
I don't even know what you would call a decoration such as this, but it's a musical/talking lobster... you know... just the classy/simple type of decoration Molli needs for their new house!

Teresa worked for hours (if not days) on creating DVD's of all of the footage she took while Grandma, Papaw, her and Mom went to Egypt and Israel earlier this year. Also, all of the still photographs that Mom took are included! What a labor of love; a gift that means so much to my family and will be treasured for years to come.
Grandma must have picked berries for hours (if not days) as well!
She treated every couple to homemade blackberry jelly and raspberry jam.
Mom's friend, Sandy, has worked months on creating a book
containing all of her personal poems that she's written over the years.
Christmas ended a new way this year, but I hope it becomes a tradition for years to follow. Grandma wanted to give a "gift from the heart". Our family is lucky enough to be blessed with all the necessities that we need and shopping can be a challenge of what to buy, the people who have everything. Grandma typed up her wishes for us; true gifts from the heart!
Everyone went around the room and shared Grandma's gift from the heart. For us younger folks, she hopes that we can earn/finish our collge degrees, and other things mentioned were vacations, hobby toys purchased, drive-way concreted and even a 2-door garage filled with tools were mentioned... wonder who would want that?

As I glance back through pictures, it hit me... I truly feel like this may be my "best" Christmas ever, and what made it so special, wasn't the extravagant gifts that were received,
but gifts that were given, from the heart!

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