Monday, November 10, 2014

My Best Christmas Memory - #chosenbykids

I grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, so all of my memories lead me right back to that farm. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, so my Mom had to make do with what we had.  Our gifts generally consisted of one or two toys and some socks or underwear. I have three siblings, two sisters and one brother, and while it seemed we didn't really need anything, we always wanted!

Of course growing up on a farm meant that you spent the majority of your time outside:  in the summer riding your bike, playing in the hayloft, pulling weeds, picking up sticks and rocks or mowing the yard. There was never an idle moment and if there was my parents made sure that it didn't last for long!  In the winter we spent a large amount of time outside building snow forts, ice skating or snowmobiling.  There was always fun to be had, but most of that time didn't consist of toys at all - we usually had to make our own fun.

My parents didn't ever seem to have time to spend with us - they were always working on the farm or, in my Mom's case, at her job in town. Christmas was a different story though.  Since there was no field work to be done, my parents were open to actually spending some time with us and we thrived on it!

Our family's tradition was to open our presents on Christmas Eve before going to midnight mass.  We always had ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner and then would start unwrapping! We kids usually pooled our pennies and got my Mom some bath oil beads and my Dad some kind of aftershave, usually Old Spice! In retrospect I don't recall my Mom ever lounging in the tub, but it seemed to my young mind that she should!  My Dad would actually get on the floor with us and play! He would look at our toys and take some time with each of us. It is a memory that I will always treasure!

My parents would have a big Christmas dinner and invite all of the people that they knew that didn't have anywhere to go:  an Aunt with no kids, the priests from our church, a couple of nuns, a bachelor neighbor; there was always an assortment of random people at the farm for Christmas dinner.

My parents have long-since retired from farming and moved to town.  Just this past spring my Dad passed away after a short bout with cancer.  The moral of my story is:  spoil your kids this Christmas - give them the gift of time! Play with them - when they open their toys be sure to spend time playing with them. They will remember it!
Finding the perfect gift to make your childrens Christmas extra special this year is easy: just visit Walmart's Holiday Toyland! They have in-store events scheduled that are sure to bring a heart-warming smile from your kid!

After you find the perfect gift, but you're worried about how you can pay for it, use Walmart's layaway program - it's free and won't cramp your budget!  You can find out when your favorite Walmart is having their event by clicking HERE.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Disclosure:  I am participating in a compensated event through Sverve and Walmart, however the opinions expressed herein are my own.
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  1. What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. And what wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amazing story, I sooo agree spend as much time as possible with your kids for life can change so fast. Sorry about your Dad, I too loss my dad to cancer a few years ago. I would have loved to spent Christmas on a farm...sounds cool!

  3. What a great memory of your mom and dad! I was always jealous of the kids that got to open on Christmas Eve! Thanks for sharing!!1

  4. I love teaching my children that Christmas is not about presents and that's what I kept thinking about while reading your post. I'm so happy for the extra family time at Christmas and I too cherish those childhood memories I have with my parents and brothers at each Christmas.

  5. I am so sorry for you loss, my prayers are with you... I am glad you shared this with us, it gives me a warmth inside because I sort of remember something like this when I was a little girl and yes it so important to spend that time with each child, Christmas or no Christmas.. and Thanks for the tip on Walmart :)

  6. Such a beautiful memory and important message. I am so sorry for your loss but happy to see you are still able to cherish the memories. Thank you for sharing, Monica!

  7. Hi Monica,

    I am very sorry for the loss of your father. It is such blessing to be able to remember your loved ones fondly though. My husband is also one of those dads who will sprawl out on the floor playing with the children... like a child. They love it and I love watching it. It is beautiful to witness.


    Mom Does Reviews

  8. I love the gift of time reminder. We all seem to think we need to get our kids the biggest, best or newest item on the market but all they really need is attention, love and time. Thanks for the reminder :)
    Lovely story!

  9. Thank you for such a heartwarming post. It brought memories of my own Mom and Dad. Your right kids remember the attention more than the gift itself.

  10. Love the reminder that time is the gift that matters most. And your pictures are gorgeous!

  11. Monica~ thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory of your family time on Christmas. I had to giggle about the bath stuff for mom because I gave the same to my mom and it stayed in the bathroom counter for years!

  12. We have always opened gifts on Christmas Eve too. Beautiful memory.

  13. So true! Time is so much more important than anything else you can give! Everything else is just gravy :)

  14. What a sweet story! As a mom now I totally understand that you can't trade the time you spend with family

  15. The Christmas tree is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your memories with us!


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