I decided not to write a post about our family reunion over Thanksgiving for two reasons:  1.  I’m really hoping to forget most of it  2. There might be some lurkers out there who were at the reunion.  If you really want to know, send me an email and I’ll give you a brief run-down.  In reality, as much as we would like to forget the whole experience, I’m sure that a year or two down the road the story will come up in conversation and we will be able to laugh about it all.

I don’t think I need to say that it was a relief to stay in Colorado and only see our immediate families for Christmas.  Lauren and I spent Christmas Eve morning together sharing small gifts with each other.  I found a box of tea called Pan Asia, that I hoped she would love.  And Lauren got me a cook book entitled “Out of the Box.”  The cook book is centered around food that would come in a CSA box.  We shared a very simple morning and it was wonderful.  We both hold to similar views when it comes to gift giving for Christmas, so we didn’t feel the need to spend a bunch of money on things for each other.  We would rather find gifts throughout the year that catch our attention and remind us of each other than wait for a certain day to come up with gifts for each other.  While it is nice to receive something that we wouldn’t normally buy for ourselves we recognize that even in our modest means we live in a place of global affluence.

Christmas Day was spent with Lauren’s parents and a small group of family.  I am very blessed to be a part of her family.  I respect her dad very much and her mom might be one of my favorite people. (but don’t tell her that, because she’ll hold it over my head.)  They are two of the most generous people I have ever met and I can only hope that as Lauren and I grow older we can become as selfless and generous as they are.  Our day consisted of sharing good conversation, wonderful food (I made a few things that turned out quite good, if I do say so myself), some reflection on Christmas, and giving and receiving a few presents.   What stood out to me was that although we participated in the gift aspect of Christmas it wasn’t the focus of the day.  There didn’t seem to be a sense of entitlement to what people were given.  Gifts that were given were not done so because they were on a person’s Amazon Wishlist and the giver needed to check someone off of a list, but instead the gifts that were given were thoughtful expressions of love.  We could all share in the joy of the gifts; we were happy over the gifts that people were given and there wasn’t a sense of jealousy over who received the “better” gift.

Yesterday we drove up to Estes Park to gather with my family.  We got up to my sisters house around mid morning with no real plan for the day.  The plan was simply to spend the day together.  My brother and his wife were there and after a short day of work my mom came over, too.  It’s been a while since all of us have been together, so it was  great time to catch up on life.  Whenever my family gets together at someone’s house it seems as if the center of all the hub-bub is the kitchen and this time was no exception.  I love it when people gather in a kitchen while preparing (and eating) food.  I think that there is something about making food for people that is an act of love. When the 3 kids went down for their naps we adults passed out gifts to each other.  We sat and shared in with each others excitement.  There were even a few giggles over gifts given.  Feel free to ask Lauren about a particular toothbrush!  When we gathered to give gifts it wasn’t the focus of the day, it was a small reason in our getting together.  I had some apprehension about giving gifts this year.  I’m not very good and finding at gift when I’m on a time schedule, so when there was a few weeks until Christmas I became anxious.  Truth be told, Lauren did a great job at picking out most of the gifts we gave.  While I was anxious about the gift giving aspect of Christmas I wasn’t taking into account the graciousness of my family.  While giving gifts have almost always been a part of our Christmases, it has never been the reason for getting together.  I saw that this year and it was a wonderful reminder.

How was your Chirsmas?  Did you celebrate in any different ways this year?  Is there anything that you wont do next year?