I wanted to share with you a tradition that my family has done over the last 10 years now. We started out of a story & tradition that our pastor shared with us. It is my most favoritist tradition and I wanted to pass along in case any one wants to try. (I am sure there are other much similar traditions out there, feel free to tweak and fit it to your own family.)
Here are the rules: 1. It has to be found (not bought) 2. It must represent the person or a character trait of the person to whom you are giving it.
The purpose behind this found gift is to be intentional. I usually try to think about the person who’s name I have drawn, throughout the whole season. (I also aim for tears…the best.)
Our Tradition: We draw names and we do this on both sides of the extended family. And we save the found gifts for after all the gifts have been opened. Everyone fills up their plates again and cozies up all together to share the meaningful and intentional gifts they have found.
Last year my Pops drew my name. We had no idea that we would lose him this year so, going back through my gift of photos of the two of us and the words of encouragement he gave me, now means more to me than I could ever begin to explain. I think this is one of the best parts of the “found gifts,” they will last so much longer than candles, lotion, socks, you name it.
This year I got lucky enough to draw my husband. I’m excited to give him something and have been thinking on it all throughout this season. I feel like we have been in a “grind” over the last 5-6 years in just trying to survive little ones and all of the things that entails. I am excited to take a little time to encourage him and share what I love most about him. I am not all the way finished with it yet but it’s something like this:
I was so excited to get you for found gift this year because I feel like I never take the time to really tell you how much I admire who you are. I know sometimes we put those we love most last on the priority list and I loved the chance to just take some time to really reflect on how much I am blessed by who you are as a person.
For your found gift this year, I thought on it for a long time, but during a church service (when I probably should have been listening), I kept picturing a light bulb.
Ok, I think this isn’t just any light bulb. This is a Christmas light bulb. Here are some reasons it came to mind
1. I love your “festiveness.” Just like this colorful bulb, little did I know that I hit the jackpot with you. I basically married Clark Griswold. Especially this holiday season I have noticed just how “festive” you like to be. From your Christmas sweaters & shirts to singing Christmas Songs at the top of your lungs, you put the magic into the ordinary things. This isn’t just for Christmas. All the holidays and birthdays have a tradition that include some sort of good old-fashioned family fun. This is one of my favorite things about you. (I should have known when you grew a beard for your CRU Halloween Lumberjack costume, that I was getting the deluxe deal.)
2. Another reason that I chose this particular bulb, was because it is a replacement bulb. Most strings of lights need to all be working together to function. If one goes out, you have to replace it. I feel like this is one of your best strengths. I watch you fill in and hold up so many people in your life. I am the closest and the one you hold most of the weight for. (Not a fat joke). But I also see this in your job at Shoal Creek. You step in and take action to make sure all of the pieces are connected and in working order so that as a unit it can function. I love that God created you to see both the small and the big pictures. You know which areas need a little lift or snip or rewiring and you are able to take that and work it into a well-functioning system. Without the replacement bulb, the strand is no longer usable. I see you as such a crucial part in so many people’s lives, especially through Shoal Creek.
3. Finally, I love the connectedness that this string of lights represents. I know we have talked a lot over the last few months about “surviving” baby stage and that we are entering into a new phase of life where the dust has began to settle and a vision can be faintly seen on the horizon. I have loved talking with you about the people in your life that you want to make meaningful connections with. I love that you gave a network and a tribe of people from whom you give and receive life. I am excited about the strengthening and growing of that “line” especially what I can see you already placing inside of each of our kids. You have a light in you that shines and shares. It is beautiful and with the network of others lights up the way.
I’m proud of the affect you make daily on so many people. A number I think will surprise you one day in Heaven.
Love you and Merry Christmas.