21. Traditions. If you know me well, you will know this is actually quite amusing. I am a tradition breaker, to an extreme level, and I often get made fun of for how much I would rather work to change a tradition over just doing something the same way it's been done. However, there are a few traditions that are so worth it to me.
Last night, this afternoon, and tonight, because Grandma Gail has been here to help out, Daniel and I have taken each of our 3 kiddos out on a date. They picked either a place to eat or a treat depending on what we needed, and then we went shopping. We don't really buy presents for our kids. Last Christmas we bought them one: a Nintendo DSi for them to share. And that was their first Christmas gift from us. This year we are getting them each a few small things for their stockings, and one gift each that's practical, but that is it. Instead, after we take each kid out for a treat we shop for the other 2 kids.
Incredible things have come of this tradition.
First, the lesson of thinking about what someone else would want is one that's hard to learn for small children, but is being reinforced each year. Consistently they buy something for a sibling that the buyer has no interest in...and it's hard for them to do. But so good.
Second, the discipline of keeping a good secret. Enough Said.
Third, the joy on their faces when their sibling opens a gift they bought. Priceless.
Fourth, the ability to bless their siblings with personal, fun gifts.
There are so many more blessings that come from these times that make it my absolute favorite tradition of the whole year, but it all comes down the memories we build both on the dates and on Christmas morning, as well as the hopefully life long joy of blessing one another.