For the past several years “the Cousins” have drawn names for Christmas gift giving. There was a price limit and it needed to be hand made. However, family dynamics changed and everyone became too busy during the Holidays to put in the effort. It was suggested we skip the gift giving thing this year and have a white elephant gift exchange instead.
At first I was inclined to agree. I thought of all the stuff I planned to pawn off on others, but our kids were bummed. They didn’t see it as a hassle, they saw it as an opportunity.
It wasn’t about the gift, it was still about the thought. And it still counted to them. Even if they weren’t going to be on the receiving end, they still wanted to make something special to give. How could I say no to that.
We picked put an easy to make project. A pillowcase.
Last night, after dinner, I cleared the table and began to set up the sewing machine and fabric. I gave instructions about cutting with pinking shears and making sure they remembered to take the pins out before they got ran over by the sewing needle.
Jack sat in front of my sewing machine. Carefully he pushed on the foot pedal, trying to keep the stitches in a straight line. Amy ironed and assembled flannel pieces that had been purposefully selected for each person. Even Scott, who said he had too much homework to take part in the production, sat down to try his hand at the sewing machine.
We put on Christmas music and talked about when we should put up a tree and decorate. “They are going to love these!” one of them exclaimed after the strings had been clipped.
Each pillowcase was different, each one stitched with love and each one was a gift from the heart.
After the scraps were tossed and the scissors put away I reflected on the times when the Holidays were so hurried and stress filled that it was a relief when Christmas was over. I wondered how often I missed the opportunities my kids still cherished. They remind me of what is important.
For me the best part of the gift making experience wasn’t what ended up in the box. It was what happened in the process.
It is not the present, it is about the presence.
May the presence of the Lord’s love fill your heart and home this Holiday Season.