Christmas 2012 – Gifts of Giving

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Our Christmas was pretty dang amazing this year and I think the two biggest contributing factors were a) a focus on giving to those in need and b) not trying to coordinate for all scenarios. The giving part. In December I was fortunate enough to spend time volunteering in three separate places and for two of these my family was able to join in and feel how good it feels to help others. We made meals together with some close family friends at Friendship Trays/Meals on Wheels. The kids loved it! They worked the line loading the trays and also helped deliver the food to the elderly and shut-in folks. Lots of great lines like “I wish I could make these folks meals everyday”and “what happens if these meals aren’t made for them?”

We also spent time with our Adventure Guides group making nearly 500 sandwiches for the Urban Ministry of Charlotte. Same kind of questions but with statements like “I’ve already made more sandwiches for others than I have for myself. In my entire life!” My kids have challenged me to find ways to give back to our community at least once a month – I’m up for this challenge! Next up: Hyaet meal-sharing with my running buddies and their families.

In addition to giving our time to the community Cindy and I worked hard to over-communicate our plans and opportunities to share time without pushing commitment upon others who are juggling plans and decisions of their own. We found it to be quite freeing to only plan our time vs the time of others (imagine that!) and almost felt like we spent more quality time with those we care about than we did when we over planned and under communicated.

Christmas the holiday itself was pretty great. The only twist this year was we didn’t travel further than Pineville, NC (next town over) and it really made a difference. Christmas Eve has never been more relaxing. After our annual “walk-thru” at Church (this is where we show up 40 minutes ahead of Mass starting only to find standing room only – with 3 kids this is a non-starter so we walk on through), we headed home to spend the late afternoon and evening watching Santa drive by on the fire truck, hanging with family that dropped by and slowly prepping for the real Santa. The coolest this year was seeing Charlie get it fully. So. Much. Fun. It was a great Christmas season.

Click here for a slideshow of our Christmas Holiday (sorry for the volume)

Click here for a view of all of our pics on Flickr

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