I realize that Christmas is now more than a month behind us but I had to share something that surprised me about our celebration.
I've known for years that children don't always want what they think they want for Christmas or birthdays. For that matter, many adults don't either. That's why so many children end up playing with the boxes rather than the toys that came inside them. My children are (mostly) beyond the box playing stage so I was even more surprised when a very simple, inexpensive, last-minute gift turned out to be the highlight.
Being a teacher, I often get Starbucks gift cards from appreciative parents. Despite the fact that I'm not a big coffee drinker, I love Starbucks gift cards. I can use them to get tea (which I do drink) or cocoa or even some goodies for dessert. So, this year when my Starbucks bounty was overflowing, I decided to do something a little different. So, on Christmas Eve I put a note in each of my children's stockings inviting them to go with me to Starbucks BY THEMSELVES.
Christmas morning came and the kids dove in to their pile of gifts. Paper was flying. Smiles were growing. Everyone was happy. Then one of the kids noticed the stockings and went to take a look. "Cool! I get to go to Starbucks with Mom!" "Hey, me too!" "Can we go today?" So far, so good, I thought.
Over the next week, each of my three children picked a day to go on our Starbucks date. They got to pick which Starbucks to go to (we have several near us to choose from) and what they wanted to drink. They even got to pick a snack to nibble on. And for that hour or so, they got my undivided attention. We talked about whatever they wanted to talk about. I asked questions and did a lot of listening. In the end, they all enjoyed the time together. One of them even said, "This is the best Christmas gift!"
So, in the end, the gift that my children enjoyed the most was time with me! Go figure!