My Favorite Christmas Gift

Confession: Many times I feel that our little Beckett family can be quite negative. We easily lose sight of our many blessings. We find ourselves nagging, whining, yelling, and speaking in harsh tones to one another…often. It is not just that we are a certain personality set (sarcastic and/or inexpressive), but that we fall into a rut of taking one another for granted and easily staying stuck in barking mode (only Harper should be doing this and she is the most quiet of us all).

Just before Christmas, I had a moment of inspiration and decided to force our family to give gifts to one another this year. Usually, Santa is the only giver of gifts under the tree and in stockings with an occasional cute craft from school for us. On the afternoon of my freak inspiration, the boys and I sat at the dining room table with notebook paper and pens in hand and wrote letters. We each wrote one to every other member of our family. They had to be free of negativity. They could be things we appreciated about one another or were grateful for in that person. True to form, Ethan was less than enthusiastic about my idea. So much so that he begged me to LET him do workbooks instead. Nope. If anything, the more resistance to the exercise made me think the more that person needed to do it. Ethan really, REALLY needed to do it.

Hard at work writing (even if reluctantly)

Hard at work writing (even if reluctantly)

We quietly wrote, folded up our letters, and dropped them in the proper stockings. When Mike came home from work that day, he dutifully did the same.

I showed the boys how we "texted" in the olden days with these folded notes.

I showed the boys how we “texted” in the olden days with notes folded like this.

Last night we arrived back from our holiday travels. The boys were eager to open their gifts but wanted to read the letters first. We all sat with our stockings and read our 3 letters. Some were short, some were long, but all were filled with love. Connor’s letter to me made me laugh when he ended it with, “Even when your [sic] mean, I still love you.” Ethan wanted me to read Connor’s letter to him that described his big brother as having a loving, kind, and cool heart. Ethan’s smile was so big that it covered all the unspoken feelings contained in his simple “good” when I asked him how that made him feel. Maybe it didn’t make him (LOUDLY) squeal in delight like the box of Pokemon cards Santa gave him, but I’d like to think that all those words sunk into a foundation of security upon which we can keep building. Because from here on out, this is our new Christmas tradition.

My favorite gifts

My favorite gifts

Chances are that the Beckett’s coming year will still have its fair share of negativity. Change is hard to come by and we are creatures of habit. However, I would like to think that these past 24 hours have already been profoundly affected. I would like to think that such priceless gifts in our stockings each year will continue to combat that negativity with greater success. I would like to think that the boys will grow to learn that the greatest gifts are not those that can be bought and wrapped but those that are simple and meaningful. After all, Christmas is more about Gifts we cannot put a price tag on than those we can.

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2 Responses to My Favorite Christmas Gift

  1. Chong Kim says:

    What a priceless gift and a wonderful tradition your family has established! We are very proud of your family. Mom and Dad.

  2. kim says:

    Leslie – I love reading your posts and feeling still connected with your family across the miles! We did this too on New Years Day. One of ours wrote a letter, another chose a words to describe each person – each in their creative way shared life-giving words. Peter closed it up giving each child a verse for their next year. Hope to continue the tradition along with you! 😉 Thanks for sharing your life – you have a gift with words!! 🙂
    Lord bless you and your beautiful family this New Year!!

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