Well, it's this time of the year again, and for someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas I sure do have to spend a lot on gifts...
Niall and I got married in November 2002 and we decided, for different reasons, not to celebrate Christmas. We did let people know about out decision but people still sent gifts, especially to Seán, regardless. It was a bit awkward, but we understood how strange it must have looked and how they would have thought that Seán would be missing out on so much.
Because we didn't have a particular day set aside to give their gifts to him, we allowed him to open them as people gave them. Of course this led him to think that everybody who walked in through the door had a gift for him, and for a while they did! But eventually he had to figure it out that it wasn't a long term thing, he was only 4!
This turned out to be a bit of a disaster so we decided that from then on, around the Christmas holidays, we would set a day aside where we would open any presents that were given to us, a family day, MacCarthaigh Day! On this day we stay in our PJ's all day, eat what we want, play with Seán. have a treasure hunt, watch a DVD, spend time with the Lord and keep the world at bay! This has turned out to be one of our high lights of the year and we just love it as a family.
Sean has very good friends and I am friends with their mums, so every year he gets gifts from them. He also has relatives up North belonging to his first dad, who give him plenty... I know the Bible says not to give gifts simply because other people give you gifts, but...
I like these people and don't want to offend them. I tried giving them gifts at other times of the year but it didn't seem to work out. So now the loop gets bigger and bigger, and more expensive.
This year, in anticipation, Seán and I made some of our gifts. I also bought some of them during the year but no matter how early I start, there always seems to be so many I forget and need to buy. However, I must say that God has ALWAYS supplied our needs, and this area is no exception.
One good thing that seems to have developed along the way is an un-written agreement of my friends and neighbours is only to buy for the children. I like this:)
Another good thing is that I like Seán's friends and their mums and I enjoy choosing and giving the gifts, and so I think it is a nice way to let them know that, although we don't want to make a fus, we do want to show them that we love them and appreciate their friendship, so whether we make or buy, we give with a full heart and thank God for these people who He brought into our lives.
Proverbs 3;29 says,
"Do not devise evil against your neighbour, for he dwells by you for safety's sake."