We have had a very blessed Christmas - family, friends, gifts, life. I say it a lot, but I will say it again - We have amazing families! And we are so thankful for the time we get to spend with them - at the holidays and throughout the year. This year we split up the family time. Brian's family on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas Day. This was amazing! We had more time with each family and a much more relaxed holiday.
So relaxed that I was crazy forgetful! I forgot a few gifts on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day I forgot most of the ingredients for the mac n cheese I was making as well as the slow cooker to cook it in! Whoops. If you know me at all, you know that I am extremely organized and I plan ahead (like, too far ahead sometimes). So this forgetfulness bothered me to no end. I don't know what happened! It was my dad's theory that I was so relaxed that I didn't have a "mental list" going like I normally would. We'll go with that!
Gift giving has become a (for me) fun part of the Christmas celebration. I like the process of giving gifts - thinking about the person, what he/she would appreciate, and then finding that perfect gift. It's fun and exciting! Brian and I create lists each year, but I always enjoy going "off list" for a few items.
As a Specials teacher, it's nice to be remembered with gifts and cards; but I am always blown away by the generosity and giving spirits of my students and their families. Sometimes I feel I don't deserve all that they shower me with! They definitely make me feel loved and valued. However, I will admit, I can get caught up in the "stuff" and my selfishness comes out.
This year I received two gifts from siblings I teach. Their gifts were the best ones I received and helped me to remember what gift giving is all about! I received the brother's gift first. He came running up to my classroom door and thrust a tin can in my hand. "Here. This is for you." And he was gone as fast as he arrived. At first, I was confused by the gift. Why do I need a tin can? What am I going to do with this? He had created a new label for the can that just said, "To: Mrs. Arnold - From: R" I added the gift to my list (for thank you cards) and set the can on my desk.
It was not until I got home that day and began unwrapping gifts that I understood. The brother's little sister had brought me a gift bag that morning. I had just set it down, planning to unwrap and "catalog" gifts later. Little sister had obviously wrapped the gift herself, complete with a handmade tag "To: Mrs. Arnold - From: M". Once I had broken through the large amounts of tape, I saw used crayons. Some were broken, some dull. Crayons of different brands and colors. It took me a minute to realize what she had given me. I started crying as soon as it clicked. She had given me her crayons! She wrapped up her own crayons to give to me. What a special gift and reminder of true giving. I plan to put her crayons in his tin can and keep them on my desk as a constant reminder. I am so grateful and thankful for not only the presents, but my students themselves. They are the reason I teach, and I learn from them daily.
I am blessed and thankful for everything this holiday season!