A favorite time to remember, the Yuletide Season was the busy work of a family of ten children. My best friend, the oldest, was appointed Lieutenant in charge. The month of December was filled with daily after school activities to keep ten active children busy.
The goal was to stay within a frugal budget for Christmas and give Mom some respite. Conventional purchases by Mom and Dad were limited to one meaningful gift for each child, although their list may be long. Ten children then drew a name of a sibling and secretly hid the name. Their job was to create a gift that brought meaning to them with their sibling in mind.
Throughout the month of December, the family thrust themselves into creating gifts for each other. Crafty items were purchased and saved during the year. Old and new fabric cut into squares, yarns, ribbon, scrap wood, paper, beads and all that could be salvaged went into this concerted effort.
After school, the children would gather at a large table for a couple of hours. This time not only presented an opportunity to gather as one, but to work selflessly with others. The older children helped the younger children create a sock monkey, rag doll, or paint wooden toys that their father cut.
One week was spent creating new Christmas tree ornaments, stringing popcorn, cut and paste Christmas scenes for refrigerator exhibits.
How else would the matriarch prepare and freeze breads, pies, and other holiday treats? This was truly a family to emulate, living within a frugal budget, and learning important and valuable lessons that would carry all of this wonderful family to great success.
Having come from a small family, my inclusion in their family venture holds an indelible memory.
What I learned from this family venture is that collectively a family can learn that thoughtfulness of each other is pivotal in life.
In a frenzied commercial world, Christmas has lost an element or two. Be it a family of two or three, these same principles can be applied to bring value to the spirit of the holidays! The added value is that Mom is given a couple hours of respite!