I have been thinking a lot about Christmas lately and how i want to make portray Christmas in my family. What i want my kids to get out of it and what example i want to set for them. My problem with Christmas is that people focus to much on gifts, I am don't get me wrong i like getting gifts and giving them but i just think that we should do something more. This made me reflect on past Christmas's and what we did as a family. My favorite Christmas was one where we decided to take all the money we would have spent on gifts and go down to Mexico with a charity organization and do service for those in need (here is their website) We drew names in our family and got them a $20 gift so we all had one gift but to tell you the truth no one remembers what we got that year, we remember our experience!
It was amazing, we went down to Miramar (its a suburb of Tijuana) and stayed in a hospital that was under construction. At the start of our first day we were sent to a home of an LDS (they get contacts of those who need help through the church down there) family who's roof was leaking and needed desperate repair. But they did not have the money to do it. We went there and fixed their roof and, then saw the inside of their little home, their floor was dirt and the mom cooked on a camp stove, we wanted to do more so we went and bought tile from costco and re tiled their floor and we were able to find them a stove, that was not run an propane and would help her out and make it less of a danger. I can still remember seeing the joy on their faces as we were helping them. They were so happy help and to get a roof, floor, and stove. They had nothing but still made us an amazing meal to say thank you.
While working on their home we saw their "neighbors" (i use that term lossley because there homes are on hills put in where ever they can. Who's roof was pieced together by tarps and random objects. We decided to help them and were able to fix their roof for them. When we went into their home we found that one room was built on because the daughter moved in with her husband and baby, they room was not safe for them to be living in. So we took their "bathroom" (it was an outhouse inside their home) and sealed it off, poured cement and cleaned and painted the walls to make it livable. We also help support the little room they added on and made it into a bathroom with a flush toilet
There were a other people in our group that came with us who helped out a lot of other people. We all enjoyed the experience. I think one of my favorite was going to church on Sunday and even though i could not understand a work that was said, you could feel the spirit and feel the love these saints had and how thankful they were for us to be there and help them out. There are so many good people there who have little to nothing, my family ward (a lot of them came with us when we went) has done many things for this ward since then. We have gone back once more to help and see everyone again. It was such a good experience to see how happy they were and how thankful they were for our service a year later.
I can still remember coming back into the states and being so excited to use a real toilet again (at lest one i could flush toilet paper down!) take a hot shower, and be able to drink out of the faucet! And not worry if the restaurant i am eating out will make me sick, but i must say they have the BEST taco stands!
This was my favorite Christmas, there were not really any gifts, just a chance to serve and help others. I want to make sure that at Christmas time in my home we focus on Christ and honor him by serving those in need. Since i have been married we have always been really tight on money and have not been able to do anything for others, this year things are tight but i told Derek i really want to do something, so we are going to participate in the Angel tree at my work. I want to make sure at Christmas time we just give a few gifts, and spend our time and money helping those who need it. I don't want my kids to think of Christmas as a time to get whatever they want, but as a time to find those that need help and to serve them!
Sorry i know that was a long post! I have pictures from our trip, but they are not digital so i don't have them on my computer sorry! But the website has some pics on it!
here our pics of the group i went with http://www.charityanywhere.org/mexico2003.htm