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I grew up in a divorced home and lived with my mom. She would have
us open gifts Christmas morning but wait on the ones that my dad got
us until he was there (which was mid morning). Being older I really
appreciate the fact that she put her dfferences aside so that we
could spend the holiday with both our parents. (It was like that for
all holidays - my dad was always there...but he was and still has
been there all the time for us) The only thing that I wish she would
have done differently was have us wait on ALL the gifts to open
while dad was there. Now that I am older I see where my dad got
short changed on things (not just gift openings) since they were
divorced. But that was not by his choice...my mother and her mom
were the instigators to that. But to hear it from my dad...every day
that he got to spend time with us, and every day now, was and is
Christmas to him. He really is a true man of God, and I am so
blessed to have him as not only my father, but next to my
husband...as my BEST FRIEND.

I have no children of my own as you all know, but this is something
that I felt was very important to do with Anthony (and I would do
with my kids if I have any). After opening all the gifts and the
pile of wrappings are thrown in the trash, we always have a perfect
gift to open that is a family gift. This is something we do no
matter if we have him on Christmas day or the day after (due to the
custody issue - I'm sure know what I mean).

The perfect gift is a beautifully wraped box (nothing like the
others under the tree - it's much more beautiful than the rest) that
has a variety of little, inexpensive things in it. (ie. a doll
blanket, a doll crown and things to that effect) We all sit around
and think of the perfect gift that each item represents... for
example...the doll blanket (comfort - God's comforting arms around
us; crown - the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus's head) The
items in the box are changed up yearly, but the idea of it reamins
the same. This way we always end our gift giving with the REAL TRUE
meaning of Christmas...JESUS!

~Nichole M.