Although traditions that have been in our family for years will always have a special place in my heart, I need to share a new tradition that my husband’s side of the family started this year.
Actually, our niece, Heather, suggested this idea. It sounded interesting, however I didn’t realize how awesome it really was.
Each person, or family, received a name. We were not to send a gift “for” that person, we were to send a box of items that depicted “who we are”. You see, our family is a large one, and we are strewn all over the country. We are losing touch with each other a little, and don’t know about each other’s daily lives or special interests or talents.
The first blessing of this tradition is actually choosing the items that will represent yourself, or your family. Our family box represented my husband, me, and my mother who lives with us. After much thought, we made our selections.
My husband works hard marketing and screen printing graphic tees for our business, so we included two tee designs. He also loves to brew beer, so a bottle of his latest brew was lovingly wrapped and added to the box. Since I read so many inspirational and spiritual books, I chose to include “The Promise” by Jonathan Morris, a book that opened my eyes in so many ways. My other contribution was homemade cookies that I love to bake each Christmas. (as a side note, I am still baking more and will be baking until New Year’s Day probably!!!) My mom parted with one of her beloved “Beanie Babies”…a bright red Cardinal. She LOVES Beanie Babies, and does not part with them easily. However, she made an exception for the “Family box.” Not only is the Beanie Baby one of her treasures, but the Cardinal is Ohio’s State bird, which is our hometown…both my side and my husband’s side of the family. She also included a Word Search book, because she spends hours a day finding words! The last thing we threw in was a White House Ornament to represent the Northern Virginia/DC area where we make our home. We sent our box, with love, to my sister in law and our niece.
It is more difficult than you may think, to decide on a few things that depict your life, or your family.
The second blessing comes with receiving the box that your “giver” family assembled for you. Our box was from our niece, her husband and daughter. As we were opening each package, we actually felt the spirit of their family. It was a beautiful and fun experience. There was a handmade bracelet and hand drawn notecards, created by my great niece, a bottle of a favorite local beer, Ohio beer glasses crafted in their town, handmade birdseed ornaments which they handed out to neighbors as gifts this year, local Tony Packos relish and a Carruth Angel that was created by an amazing local artist. They have many Carruth pieces displayed in their backyard, and now we have one more to lovingly display in ours. My niece also added some PB2 (powdered peanut butter) which she loves in smoothies and ice cream. I had never heard of “PB2” before, but it sounds interesting and we are looking forward to enjoying it! She also creates beautiful handmade cards, and tucked one of the most beautiful cards I have ever seen in the box. The card listed all the items and what they meant to each of them.
The third blessing from this tradition, lies in all of us sharing about what was in the box we received. We have a group message going on, and it is exciting to see pictures and descriptions of each family’s box. What a fun way to get to know each other in a deeper way!
Right now, my heart is completely full of the warmth, love, and appreciation of family.
Thank you Lord for the amazing gifts of love and family. Help me to always look for ways to share those gifts with all the people you place in my daily life.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17