Itâ€™s been a while since Iâ€™ve posted. I initially wanted to start out with a stereotypical Christmas image and a generic greeting, but you deserve more than that. This year has been unlike no other. Christmas Day is no exception. As usual, this post will come from the heart.
May your Christmas (and each Holiday and tradition that you and yours celebrate) be one that helps you feel grateful for what you have. Weâ€™re conditioned to focus on things we want and to seek more, more, and more. For now, in this moment, I hope you can find joy in the simplest thing thatâ€™s right in front of you. For me, spending copious amounts of time with my little family this year has been a tremendous blessing.
Of all the things we can buy, time isn’t one of them. (via atinaatwood.com)
Many thanks to those of you who have discovered (or rediscovered) Riley and Epiphanyâ€™s Christmas story. Itâ€™s hard to believe itâ€™s been two years since I started the Holiday Heartbeats series! I look forward to continuing this sweet, multicultural series and more in the coming year.
For now, though, Iâ€™m making the most of this moment. And I hope youâ€™ll do the same.
The following is a segment that I’ve recently shared with my mailing list subscribers. I’d also like to share my experience with you:
Our family celebrates Heiligen Abend (Christmas Eve) and Christmas Day, so our little one is truly enjoying the best of both worlds. It’s wonderful to honor family traditions, and it’s especially freeing to celebrate in our own little way. The Holidays are becoming even more beautiful as we create new traditions with my Little One (now that he’s starting to understand what all of the hoopla is about!).
It’s been especially satisfying teaching him the importance of giving. As the years progress, I’ve noticed that it’s not always going to be easy to get my child to understand how truly blessed we are. Of course, at this point, a little toddler really shouldn’t be focused on, well, anything, so I guess I still get a pass.
Nevertheless, it was a real treat the other day to buy one simple present for another child that my son had selected – and then remind him that the present was NOT for him.
Okay, you may be thinking that I was a sadistic mother at this point, but hear me out. It’s so easy to tithe and toss donations towards organizations that support what my family and I believe in, but with a click of a button, my child doesn’t see or feel the impact.
He doesn’t understand the concept of money beyond the fact that he likes the paper in his green crocodile bank, and every now and then he gets some of that paper to stuff inside it.
When he selected the toy he thought was the most exciting, naturally, he wanted to keep it. He wanted to play with it like any normal child would. Although he understood from the get-go that the toy wasn’t for him, he didn’t give up hope that I would change my mind and let him have it.
It gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about the act of giving – and how it’s important to give things to others that we would want for ourselves. At home, I demonstrated the open-palm/closed-palm mentality using his toys, and then I left the subject alone.
Over the course of a few hours, he constantly looked at the present, asked about it, and wanted to role-play that he was the child receiving it. (On the one hand, it was amusing to see how he found a way to achieve emotional gratification, and on the other hand, I felt so privileged to witness how he processed his feelings!) I reminded him that giving can actually make you feel really good. To demonstrate, we baked brownies (with LOTS of sprinkles) to give to his preschool class the next day.
The following afternoon, an amazing thing happened. This time, he wanted to pretend that he was the person giving a present, and I’ll tell you, the Grinch has nothing on the size that my heart grew in that moment.
As many of us get ready to open up our presents, I hope that you have a wonderful time appreciating these moments in the ways that make YOU feel most fulfilled and blessed. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and my most heartfelt wishes for a Happy New Year!
â€“ Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series (described as “sweet California Romance”) and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atinaâ€™s newsletter here.