The older girls are finally at the stage where they can really get excited about Christmas. While we want to keep the focus on the real reason for the season, the birth of our Savior, we also want to enjoy the years when our children are completely giddy with the thought of presents, cookies, songs, celebrations, and fun.
Every 3-year-old loves presents. (for the record, so do 31-year-olds). Our girls love to open anything. They even have me wrap up their own toys to give to each other so they can have pretend birthday parties. One night last week Rowan disappeared for a while and came back with a “wrapped” present. When she thought no one was watching, she bent down to Lola and said, “My baby Lola (I melt.), this is for you.” She proceeded to pull out a Dora book that she knew her (obsessed) little sister would love. I may or may not have cried butdefinitelydid.
Anyway, this led me to think that they were old enough to start to understand the joy of giving a gift, not just getting them. So, last Sunday morning (after sleeping in a little from our fantastic Christmas party the night before) I took the older girls shopping, one-by-one, to pick out presents for their sisters.
Rowan went first. She was so excited. “I’m so excited to be just me and you Mommy!” (yeah. cried again.) We just headed to the tiny Dollar General in Norwalk because we needed somewhere with a short commute since I would be making the trip three times in a row, I don’t really like shopping, and I have severe hatred for crowds. She grinned from ear to ear picking up items saying “My Jovie, My Sienna, My Lola would LOVE this!” (she still calls everyone My _____, and I refuse to ever correct it.) She insisted on carrying the items even though it was a lot for one little girl to handle.
She ended up with a few cute things like sparkly lip gloss, a toy pony, and some kitty cat tattoos. She ran into the house and hid her presents under our bed and pumped up her sisters about how fun their trips were going to be.
Sienna was just as excited, if not more. She tends to jibber-jabber non-stop when she is excited, and this trip was no exception. On the way to the store, she exclaimed, “Mama, if I pick something special out for my girls, they will LOVE it.” ‘My girls’. Again, I melt. Rowan had found a Doc McStuffins backpack that the fell in love with while she was shopping, so I brought Sienna to it, and she went on and on about how much Rowan would love it because it would fit on Rowan’s favorite stuffed fox. She was totally right, that it exactly what Rowan will probably do with it. She picked some cool laser light finger rings and sparkly lip gloss for Jovie, and some Dora stickers for Lola. She must have jumped up and down 100 times in the store while holding onto my hand and had this permagrin on that could melt your heart.
Last, but not least, was Jovie. I took the Jov last because she likes to take her time and really think about her decisions/is very stubborn. I knew I would need to have a precise time limit (nap time was soon) in mind, or she could take all day. Being the diplomat she is, Jovie asked her sisters what they would like before we left. Sienna said candy. Easy enough. Rowan said, “A Christmas Tree that walks funny like this!” (then proceeded to waddle.” Huh? Cue us spending the first 10 minutes at the store looking for something that resembles that request…we failed, and thankfully Jovie became distracted. Jovie instantly found a noise machine that makes 20 sounds, including a burping noise. I tried to talk her out of it, but she kept insisting that “It would make Sienna laugh so much!” She is right. Soooo… I caved. I will hate myself on December 26th. She picked out a sparkly baton, and some glitter glue for Rowan as concession for a waddling Christmas tree, and she found a Dora Paddle Ball for Lola (notice a pattern anyone?).
Then I cried. Prepare your heart.
When we were finally standing in line, Jovie insisted on carrying the huge basket. She had a very worried look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and in her tiny high-pitched Jovie voice she said, “Mommy, you won’t have to spend ALL of your money on my stuff will you?”……
I swear the lady in line behind us teared up. I obviously was. I reassured her that I wouldn’t and that she shouldn’t ever worry about that. I also asked her where she got that idea, to which she gave no answer, but she recently had a math lesson on saving and spending. She was okay by the time it was our turn to pay. She put each item up on the counter and told the clerk who each present was for all on her own. It was so freaking sweet.
At home, they all got to take turns helping to wrap their presents and dictating what they wanted “the card” to say. This is my favorite thing to do with them. Writing down word-for-word what they want to tell others. It never disappoints.
(Lola always hugs Sienna when she cries. I’m going to record it on video to show them during the teenage years.)
While we don’t want our children to become materialistic at all, letting them buy small gifts for each other was an exciting way for them to learn the joy of giving. It was really neat to see how well they knew their sisters and thought about what they would like. So far they have kept the presents a secret, but we still have 6 days left. Hopefully the excitement continues when they get to actually give the gifts to one another on Christmas morning after stuffing their cute little faces with birthday (coffee) cake to celebrate Jesus.
May your Christmas be filled with true joy.