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Christmas Gifts III

I'm working away on these family Christmas baskets!! You might remember that I ordered Pioneer Woman's cookbooks for the baskets and gifted one to myself too :) One of my friends asked how the cookbook was -- it was EXCELLENT! I know two more people that I want to buy this for. . .it's a great combination of photographs, stories, and food!! I highly recommend it.

The cookbooks are a gift from "me" in the baskets. My husband picked this out for everyone:
Last week I read an article about some girls dying in a car accident when their car flipped over into a lake and they were unable to get out. . .so although Tom said "flashlight" I found these:
"Auto emergency hammer: ABS emergency dyno flashlight with 5 LED's and alarm light, 4 pc. magnetic block on torchhead, with integrated emergency car glass hammer and safety belt cutter."
Of course, for our families with multiple vehicles this will never be in the correct vehicle but still think it's a great idea. Problem: our local store only had 5 and are not anticipating getting any more in. Sigh. So. . .I was unable to purchase one for our vehicle(s) and one of my baskets will be short. We bought a heated auto ice scraper instead and will probably put it in my dad and stepmom's basket because they live farthest north and my dad likes gadgets. The brand is Totes.I also mentioned last week that Wal-Mart was giving me fits. . .I was working on a photo calendar for my mom and brother. My mom specifically asked for one (my sister and I did a quick one last year) so I spent countless hours putting this together for her. This will be the gift from the "kids".

I chose Wal-mart over Shutterfly because I like that Wal-mart lets you put pictures on the calendar page itself. I think I would have been better off with Shutterfly -- Wal-mart's site was so slow and frustrating to navigate. You see the "waiting to download" image on the right side of the photo? I spent waaaaaaay too much time watching that thing circle. One time I gave up and went to bed. . .in the morning it was still circling - ha! But it was too late to change. . .it takes so long to download images (we live WAY out. . .we don't even have cable t.v. here!!!). . .Wal-mart it was and the calendars are done, submitted, and hopefully will get here in time for us to leave next Tuesday night. The other four families (Tom's sister, parents, my sister, and dad) will all be receiving photo playing cards! Here is the image we are using on them:We live close enough to Dollywood (east TN) that we can make a day trip out of it and did so on Saturday. My mom's Christmas gift to our family this year were season passes so we went and got them and spent the day enjoying an early Christmas present :) Part of my goal was to get an image for the playing cards. . .that was the best I could do. . .the Santa picture was PERFECT but the wrong orientation.
I also received the Ethiopian coffee I was telling you about:
If you are interested at all in trying some of this for yourself I encourage you to stop over at Joe & Aime's blog and not only support them in their adoption journey but this is fair trade too so a family in Ethiopia is eating because you make this purchase.

We bought something for ourselves too. . .A Family Road Map. I hope to blog more about this as our family goes through it. Here is something to chew on: "Here's an interesting thought: most parents spend more time planning the perfect family vacation than they do planning for their children's future. Today it's rare to hear of a couple who have sat down, discussed and planned for the future of their family. They haven't asked questions like: What qualities do we want our children to possess? What things do we want to be sure to do as a family? What values do we have as a family?"

I'd still like to add the mechanical pencils my son likes and make the treats my daughters would like to include. I also have to buy the baskets and wrapping material. So far, so good on the budget with the baskets though!

And this is my "big" gift to the kids this year:
I have been working like crazy on an ABC album for them. About 5 years ago I made one and they still love it so I thought it would be fun to do an updated one. It's been YEARS since I've done a family scrapbook so this will take the place of that for now. I am on letter G. . .

Hope all your Christmas shopping is going well and that it is a JOY for you!!! Giving gifts should be a joy, not a chore. If you find that you are stressed and pressured then you are forgetting that the REASON for the SEASON is to celebrate our Savior's birth, to be together, to give gifts as He gave Himself for us. If you simply can't think of anything for someone, then buy them a beautiful card and write a letter to the person telling them why they are special. After all, God has given us His love letter (the Bible) and it is our greatest treasure. . .why would a letter from you be any different for your loved one?

Yes, we "do" Santa (a tradition from my childhood) but the first gift Santa brings is Baby Jesus -- we mail our Nativity's baby Jesus to Santa when we put it out -- and so we can place Him in His manger first thing Christmas morning. Also, the kids all get three gifts from Santa as Jesus received three gifts too. At this point in my children's lives I just can't give up the magic of Santa Claus. Of course our oldest knows he's not "real" but I do believe he is real if you carry on St. Nick's tradition of giving to those less-fortunate, remembering that we are loved and not forgotten. Santa is NOT the "star" of our day -- JESUS IS!!! He's the One we celebrate, the One we sing to. . .the One who we love with all of our hearts.

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