Here she is, in all her splendor. Somehow, pictures just never do justice to Christmas trees. (At least mine don't!) I can assure you, 'tis a most beyootiful tree;)
This is one of my most favorite ornaments. If you tilt your head to the left and imagine that there are four little black pipe cleaner legs underneath, which the camera didn't capture, you will be able to see that it is a pom-pom sheep. The tag reads: "I love ewe!"
This is one of those little pre-school projects that captured this mother's heart. Joey was five when he came home from school, carrying a brown lunch bag, stapled closed and tied with a ribbon. It was decorated, in typical pre-school fashion, with crayon colored Christmas pictures. He came in the door and immediately put it under the tree. "It's your present," he said. "You have to wait for Christmas to open it." So for the next week or so, it sat under the tree, and at least once a day he would ask, "Do you want to open it?" And I would say, quoting one of our favorite storybooks at the time, "Not yet, Big Bird. We have to wait 'til Christmas!"
On Christmas morning, beneath the tree, was a mountain of gifts from Santa. Joey raced down the stairs and I waited with excitement to see his reaction to all of the wonderful toys that awaited him. He climbed over the pile of presents, oblivious to all the new packages that hadn't been there the night before, searching until he found the little brown bag. With a big smile, he presented it to me. "Merry Christmas! You can open it now!"
There was such a purity in that moment, with the honesty and truth that only a child knows, that the heart does indeed feel more joy in the giving than in the receiving.