opening presents


Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day in the morning.


Sentimentality hit hard on Christmas Eve, after we placed the gifts under the tree and stuffed the stockings we sat in our rockers in front of the fire thinking about the children and how fast they were growing.  Thinking about our grandparents and how they are all gone now.  Thinking about each other, how happy and content we are in our love and wanting time to slow down and last forever, but knowing it won’t, it can’t.

In these moments, we always come back to the same truth:  to determine to savor the NOW and enjoy the days as they happen, as gifts from God, which is what they truly are.


I got up at 6 to find … Jacob, Ethan, Grace, and Seth all awake and waiting for the rest of the family.  I was laughing from the first, with the discovery that the older siblings were just as excited as the rest of the children.  Caleb and David woke up at 6:30 and we all called, “Sarah!” to wake up the littlest one.  She stepped carefully down the stairs to us, with sleepy eyes and crazy morning hair.  Still little enough to be a tad confused about all the fuss.


After working on wrapping each and every gift, I was bound and determined not to miss a single child’s face when they opened it.  David passed out the presents and we all watched as that person opened it.  At first they were a little shy about all the attention (16 eyes upon them) but they quickly warmed up and forgot about being self-conscious.


The faces.

Those darling eyes revealing wonder and expectation.

Sweet joy filling the room, in the giving and receiving.













And then, the beautiful mess.

The children fled to the new addition to put together lego sets and play with dolls, leaving the cat alone amongst all the wrappings, and a mama upstairs, camera aimed down with full heart, thankful for the day, CHRISTmas day, and a family to love with everything within me.

12 thoughts on “opening presents

  1. Good post, Shanda. Did not take but one photo. My daughters took plenty. The day was full of planned activities for the younger ones. They enjoyed each one. At the end of the day, we were tired, but contented with the memories made.

  2. So many beautiful memories. The rocking chair conversation. Yeah, we are there too at that chapter in our lives. Seems like everythings on fast forward these days. I feel the overwhelming sense to treasure moments and days not to just survive them. Lol. My mother heart is somtimes on a roller coaster. Sad one minute I have a third graduating but the next, happy that I don’t have toddlers.
    It looks like your Christmas happened like ours:). Great presents and beautiful children.
    Thankyou for sharing!;)

  3. Love seeing the happy mess of Christmas morning. We are still to have ours. So far just some stocking stuffers. The rest of the family will arrive in the AM, so our belated, but blessed Christmas is going to start. Our littlest is here now, and at 1 year, so cute!

  4. So beautiful!!! Love how the cat chose to say and enjoy laying on all that paper…We are enjoying our little dog…who does the same silly things…pets enrich family life!!!
    I loved you Christmas Shanda!!

  5. Our Christmas looked a lot like yours…Legos, Legos, and more Legos! Even Jeff recieved a couple of the Architecture sets. (it’s the architect/contractor/builder in him..he just can’t helphimeself 😉 The beautiful mess on the floor…I love it!

    I know that sentimental feeling of Christmas Eve..we talked about how setting up Christmas morning was the best. It’s one of the things I will miss most when my children are all grown and gone. You are right..things can’t stay the same. It’s sad, but exciting at times too.

    Glad your Christmas was wonderful.
    P.S. I just got your card today…such a beautiful picture of your family!

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