"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."
~Laura Ingalls Wilder
My, oh my, how the Christmas season sneaks upon us, and then, in the blink of an eye, it's finished. I'm always sad to see it go.
This year proved another magical adventure. I think it was the first time I've really cried over Christmas presents. With the crazy spending and the unapprecation and the the self-infatuation so many people appear to possess, I was sincerely touched by the trinkets I received this year. Allow me to take you on a mental field-trip to my 6th grade classroom....
Room 11 was buzzing with excitement. The kiddos stumbled into our room, carrying treats and presents for their favorite friends and teachers. I always think it's cute how they walk in the door, and before taking off their coats or backpacks, thrust their present in my face and command, "Open it!" They are full of anticipation and pride; it really is the cutest thing.
I always talk about my life to my students. Some might say this is excessive, but I believe it helps them see me as a person and allows us to build relationships, trust, and respect. Apparently they listen-- a very difficult task for 11 and 12 year olds... Somehow between the note passing, the thoughts drifting through their adolescent minds, and the annoying hum of computers and overhead projectors, my words make their way into their ears.
This year I received presents that meant the world to me. Not because they were expensive or fancy, but because they contained thought...something so lacking in today's world. They gave me bottles of vanilla scented lotion, coffee from Starbucks, pretty purple tea cups (my favorite color), boxes of flavored teas... And, after each present I opened, as they stood beside me with twinkling eyes, they would say, "It's your favorite color!" or "I know you love tea!" or "I thought you could make this coffee while you read books over vacation!" Now how sweet is that?
Perhaps the most touching gift of all came from a student who had nothing to give. You see, I try to make it a habit of fussing over the kids' clothes, hair, accessories, etc. I feel it helps give them a positive self-image... Anyway, I always made a big deal over a headband that one of my students wears. It's black plastic with a rainbow of butterflies all over it- very cute. I always told her how adorable it was, I even tried it on a time or two and twirled around the room. Well, guess what I got for Christmas? The headband. Not a new one that she went out and bought, hers. A true gift from the heart.
And, then I cried. I cried because my students are wonderful little adults who I hope will someday make a positive mark on this world. Sweet...simple and sweet....
Alright, we have returned from the field trip. My dear parents also made me the most amazing picture collage of my favorite place, Stone Harbor, NJ. They spent time on their vacation going around snapping all kinds of images and capturing tons of past happy memories. I cried...a gift of love...one I will treasure forever. I love handmade presents.
I got a new lens for my camera- hooray! My brother got me a nifty apron from Williams- Sanoma and a Rachel Ray cookbook (I'm very excited to try some new recipes). Chad-o was a sweetie and surprised me with a manicure and pedicure at a local salon, and the Suter crew supplied me with a personalized cake pan and the newest installment of WBI cookbooks. I really am a lucky girl.
Christmas was filled with all the goodness of home. Chad-o and I spent time with my family on Christmas day and his on Christmas Eve. We talked, ate, watched Clark Grizwald attempt to work his magic with lights, laughed, and relaxed.
I'll leave you with some yummy, traditional Kaufman family cookies. The red,white, and green ones are my all-time favorite, and the nut-rolls are to die for. You can almost taste the ice-cream that's in the dough.