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Canning Day Quilt

Small and Sweet

Memories of my childhood Christmases are filled with wonder.  I think of big snow, a new doll, and a warmth in our hearts that had nothing to do with our wood burning stove.

We never had big Christmases.  My parents didn’t allow us to ask Santa for a long list of gifts.  My mother’s rule was, you can ask Santa for one big gift and two small gifts.  My mother taught us that it would be greedy to ask for more.  I remember one Christmas, when I was about my son’s age of 9, I realized my friends asked for and received a lot more from Santa than I did.  ”Why was he unfair?”  I asked my mother.

My mom explained that our family received what we needed each Christmas, and although our Christmases were small, that each gift was special.  Each gift was thoughtfully chosen and given with love.  It didn’t matter what my friends received, it mattered that we had a spirit of gratitude and love on Christmas day.

Since I have had my own family, I have come to realize how right my mother was.  One year my husband and I both received large(r) Christmas bonuses. Feeling flush and festive, we purchased our children more gifts than usual.  The morning felt frenetic.  My kids tore open their gifts, and seemed overwhelmed by what they had received.  That Christmas just wasn’t the same.

A small Christmas doesn’t have to mean less.  When small is done with love, it can truly be sweet.

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9 Responses to “Small and Sweet”

  • Haley:

    Beautiful thoughts. This year, our Christmas is very, very small – my husband was laid off in August and is still out of work. I’ve been working part-time while balancing my last year of university. 8 out of our 10 gifts are homemade this year. It’s nice to be reminded of this truth.

  • I completely agree…thank you for the reminder!

  • Whitney Hammer Hall:

    What a classic picture…. Thank you for that. I am the same way in thinking that our kids DO NOT need a ton. They are so easy to please! Love your blog!

    • Whitney, It’s so good to hear from you. You knew us back then! I’d love to see a picture of your family. I have such great memories of playing with your sisters. I hope they are all well. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Calli

  • I love simple Christmases. I agree as well. Less is more. :)

  • Less is more. Each year I search thrift stores & yard sales for gently used toys for our children. They get 3 or so toys each, which is plenty because it’s X 4 children. They’ve never complained.

  • Vikki Furlong:

    I couldn’t agree more, my mom taught us that while Santa made and brought the gifts to good boys and girls, the parents had to pay for it. We already knew our family didn’t have the money to spend that other families did. So while making our list (with page numbers from the Sears wish book) we knew we couldn’t go crazy because mom and dad had to still pay for it. We were never greedy knowing that. But Christmas was magical!!! We’d sneak out of bed in the wee hours of morning and creep into the living room and just stand or sit there in aww. Santa gifts were never wrapped and the Christmas tree lights were left own, so there were all the sparkling new toys glistening under the tree lights. We never touched them just sat for hours looking. Then when our parents got up with were all over them. And of course we always thanks our parents because we knew they paid for it.
    It’s a feeling I’ve never been able to recapture in adulthood, but one I simply cherish.
    Since it was the only time of the year we got new toys it was super magical. Christmas presents from family and birthday presents were things we needed. Lots of socks, underwear and cloths. Second hand toys on occasion for our birthdays but more often than not clothes or school supplies. I had a very practical and wonderful mom who made sure no matter how poor we might be we were never lacking for what we needed.

    Thank you for sharing and sorry I rambled on so. We lost our wonderful mom 12 days before Christmas this year and I guess I’ll take any opportunity to praise her. But she got to spend this Christmas with Christ.

  • Jess:

    I agree that Christmas has become too commercial. Our own Christmas was smaller this year due to a loss of wages and because I refused to just buy stuff so that the kids had lots to open. I think that in the future, everyone will only get 3 gifts as Jesus only got 3 gifts. Now to sell that Idea to Hubby!

  • Lana:

    So true. I am the youngest of 6 and never even knew that you could write to santa and ask for things until I as older! Santa was just a guy that brought what HE thought you would like. To this day when I smell a fresh new baby doll I am instantly transported to christmas morning…my mom err ummm I mean Santa…always made sure there was one waiting for me.

    When I asked my daughter what her favorite gift was in all the years she said her bunny rabbit. I think back to that year we got it for her and it was such a financially hard year that we didnt think we’d have anything for her. I think she got a game and a shirt and the rabbit. The rabbit was listed for 8.00 in the local paper and we got her for 5.00 because the lady was so sweet. Bless that bunny’s heart she lasted until just last year, but for the rest of my life I will remember my sweet little girl swaying to the music holding that rabbit when she thought no one was looking.

    Yes…sometimes…less is more.

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