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Of Christmas Past

On my Facebook site a few days before Christmas, I posted the following:

Year by year it became increasingly obvious that it was easy for some of our family to gift each other lavishly. Year by year it became increasingly obvious that to exchange gifts with their siblings and ever-increasing number of nieces and nephews was financially straining for others. Year by year all of us concluded that Christmas had become too mercenary, and that despite our words to the contrary, the season had become centered more and more on gifts, rather than on the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Last year, to contribute to alleviating the situation, we began a tradition that I believe helps us to celebrate Christmas as it really should be done. We continue this year. We have agreed to limit gifts among Jerry and me and our children, the siblings, their spouses, and their children to: handmade items, something we already possess, a purchase from a thrift or a 99 cent type store. It’s a challenge, satisfying, and lots of fun.

Today I want to show you a present I received; absolutely wonderful, but well within the rules of the “game.”

20150116-untitled (4 of 10)This was from Andrew and Shawnna, an oil painting on canvass they had bought some time back at a thrift store. It is stunning, the streaming light from the buildings and the streets remarkable; truly made me catch my breath when I first saw it. The painting is large, and I had a difficult time deciding on a place to hang it, but finally chose this spot in our study that leads to the back deck.

20150116-untitled (5 of 10)20150116-untitled (7 of 10)Attached to the painting when they bought it for $10.00 or so, was this paper that indicates the previous owner had purchased the piece in 1972 and had paid $145.00 for it. The name Beltrane is noted–not sure if that is the artist’s name or the buyer–rather suspect it to be the name of the buyer.

20150117-untitled (9 of 10)We will continue with our gift exchanges in this way, for it has proved to be successful, and I believe helps us to focus on Christmas as should be done. The process calls for thoughtfulness and planning. To Andrew I gave a set of DVDs from Because of the Times 2011, which I had watched numerous times. That cost me nothing, and I believe will be a real blessing to Andrew.

Life consists of so much more than frantic shopping, long check-off lists, cards sent because “they sent us one,” maxed-out credit cards that take ’til July to pay off . . .all that kind of thing. Rather, throughout the year we should insist on time to really live, to think on Jesus, on our loved ones, to truly remember the “reason for the season.” What say you?

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 84 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

4 replies on “Of Christmas Past”

This blog post is wonderful, as yours usually are! Thank you for sharing your family’s tradition, so that we can start the same tradition within our family. Great idea!


Sis. Shirley, my husband and I have had several discussions on this topic in the last year. We also feel that gift giving had become the priority and even the game we played annually had become too much of a “gimmie thing”. I was almost to the point of no longer doing Christmas celebrations because it didn’t honor Jesus. This year we did a major cut back on gifting and felt better for it. Well….my husband and I did! I think we will have another discussion and take a closer look at your examples listed here. You may have saved the Leaverton Christmas!! Love your beautiful picture and your beautiful family.[?]

On Sun, Jan 18, 2015 at 8:39 AM, Shirley Buxton wrote:

> Shirley Buxton posted: “On my Facebook site a few days before > Christmas, I posted the following: Year by year it became increasingly > obvious that it was easy for some of our family to gift each other > lavishly. Year by year it became increasingly obvious that to exchange > gifts w”


This is a wonderful idea. Unless I can think of something someone really needs, this is what I’m going to do. I did give my daughter, Karen, two pictures of my Father as a child that she had admired. She was happy with them.


I really love this idea. Hope my family will adopt it also. It could be such fun and cause much anticipation. Thanks for sharing. And I absolutely love your painting.

Thanks for your comments, Esther. Hope the plan works out for you as well as it has for us. I believe all the family really enjoy doing Christmas this way. Love and blessings.


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