I have three nieces and a nephew ranging in age from eight to sixteen. While every gift I give is important to me, the gifts for these four are what matters most. As their aunt, I don't want to let them down.
Many years ago, I used to go crazy with these expensive, impressive gifts. We're talking the kinds of gifts that Santa should bring, not your aunt. Did the love it? Absolutely!
But things changed and so did my gifts. But their excitement never has.
I watched as the 16 year old opened the books she didn't ask for but I got for her anyway. She loved it.
I spent the afternoon with the 14 year old who after lunch and a basketball media guide that I got for free said he didn't need anything else. His Christmas was complete.
I watched as the ten year old leapt to her feet so she could hold up the blanket I had personalize for her using felt. The bonus was getting to snuggle with her under that blanket.
I listened to the eight year old tell me thank you for the little necklace that said "I love you to the moon and back." I told her, "You know that's true. I do love you to the moon and back." She said, "I know. I love you, too."
I enjoyed those days of the expensive gifts, but I enjoy these days even more. In a world where so many people feel entitled, I am thankful for kids who are truly grateful for everything. They would rather have a personalized blanket for $15 than some big, expensive thing. They actually ask their grandmother for socks and underwear as gifts. And they still say thank you and give hugs at the end of the evening.
These kids--they are my greatest blessing. They have had my whole heart since the day they were born. They are far from perfect. They are sarcastic, argumentative, and sometimes challenging. But they are also sweet, smart, wonderful people who are not materialistic and have the ability to see beyond the physical gift.
I would like to take credit, but let's face it--their parents are doing something right. I'm just honored to be a part of their lives.