There are presents...and then there are gifts of the heart.
And "Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl S. Buck, is a story about giving a gift from the heart. Our main character Rob recalls one special Christmas when he figures out how to really give of himself. Unsatisfied with the tie that he has picked out for his father, Rob comes up with a special way to demonstrate his love for his father. He wakes earlier than usual, before his father even, on Christmas morning to milk the cows, so that his father doesn't have to...giving a gift to be treasured for the rest of his life.
My children seemed to identify with the thrill of doing a secret, kind act for another person that is evident as the boy jumps back into bed in the nick of time pretending to be asleep, waiting for his father to discover his Christmas surprise.
After reading this story, we talked about what kinds of gifts are most thoughtful and loving and how to give with the other person in mind. But my kids have already demonstrated a good understanding of this concept. The spirit of service and giving lives on in our household. Guy really wanted to go "shovel" the neighbor's driveway tonight. I was trying to talk him out of it, but he said, "Mom, do you remember that list that we got from Santa?" And that was all that needed to be said. So what if his version of shoveling results in more snow ending up on our neighbors driveway than before he started. He is showing his love for them in his own way.
In order to preserve some of our own Christmas memories, we made these Memory Mitten ornaments to go with today's book. I saw the idea at Twelve Crafts Till Christmas and she has a tutorial here. To make these you simply trace around one of your child's mittens onto two pieces of felt. (Instead of felt, Elizabeth repurposed an old sweater.) Blanket stitch together and embellish according to your crafting tastes. And last, but not least, have your children write (or tell you) their favorite Christmas/Family memories from the year and tuck them inside the mitten. You can read them year after year as you decorate your tree.
Crafts of Christmas Past:
Want to know what book/craft we were working on this day last year?