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Let them be little

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By Leslie Moore

 

This time last year, I was freaking out. An aunt for the first time with very little experience with children, I was determined to make sure my niece, Taylor, would have a wonderful Christmas - but I had no idea what to get her.

After scouring store shelves and reading dozens of online reviews, I finally settled on a handmade Chenille robe, a Say Please tea set that was sold out nearly everywhere and a turtle nap mat with "Taylor" monogrammed at the top. But at 8 months old, she was too young to read or even open her presents.

This year I'm finding myself in a similar situation all over again because we welcomed my second niece, Audrey Rose, in September. But with the memory of Taylor's indifference to last year's presents fresh on my mind, I'm much more calm this go-round.

I finished shopping for Taylor a couple weeks ago and I'm looking forward to watching her laugh and squeal as she tears the paper off her presents.

But I have yet to buy a single gift for Audrey. And because I'm sure Santa will be adding to the ever-growing assortment of toys for Aunt Leslie to trip over, this year I'm planning to give her more practical gifts, like some outfits and that expensive laundry detergent, which really isn't necessary but makes her clothes smell divine.

There has been some discussion for as long as I can remember about Santa's place in Christmas and whether Old St. Nick, Rudolph and the twinkling lights are getting in the way of us remembering the true reason for the season. At a Campbellsville Conspiracy gathering last week, local pastor Bro. Jamie Bennett told the crowd that Jesus, not the gold, frankincense and myrrh, was the first Christmas gift.

I've let myself get caught up in all the glitz and shopping rush of Christmas before and have seen it happen to others. But Bennett and I agree that Santa Claus isn't to blame. Today's issue of the CKNJ features hundreds of letters to Santa from local girls and boys. While the iPad, PlayStation 4 and anything Doc McStuffins are hot items this year, there were also several requests for Santa to bring presents to the needy, some asked for their loved ones who are sick to be healed and others made sure to let Santa know that Christmas is about Jesus.

Christmas is a time for celebration because of our Savior's birth. As long as our little ones understand that, I think Santa can still have a special place in the hearts of girls and boys who truly believe in the magic of Christmas.

For my family, attending our church's candlelight service on Christmas Eve has been one of our favorite holiday traditions. This year, we might experience some problems when we tell Taylor she can't play with the candles. But it's important for us to have Taylor and Audrey there, even if we have to blow our candles out a little early.

And when I watch Taylor open her (and likely Audrey's) presents on Christmas Day, the time that went into picking them or how much money I spent will be the furthest thought from my mind. Because for me, I've never felt closer to Jesus than when I look into the lovely blue eyes of a little girl who's smiling because she knows she's loved.

Merry Christmas everyone. Let's remember to let them be little.