Yup...Santa was very good to us this year. Thanks to my new employer and it's Union-Busting tactics, I took home some very nice bonuses which allowed us to use very little of our saved money and get some nice gifts.
Bought the boy a digital video camera. Pretty smallish in size but puts out some good video. He's always bugging to use the 8mm video camera but the battery just won't hold more than a 20 minute charge. He's very excited! It also doubles as a still camera.
Bought the girl her own digital camera. Now there is no more borrowing Mom's old Olympus. She has about a gazillion pictures of the dogs now!
Both kids were very surprised to find that under the tree.
The Wife got a gift card to her favorite store and a bottle of her new favorite perfume. It's called "Beautiful"...no I can say my wife smells beautiful! It's better than the "Nude" she used to wear. I hated having to say, "I have to get my wife Nude for Christmas!"
I got an early present. A new laptop. Day after Thanksgiving. (Scroll down for the story.) Wife bought me a new digital camera so I should have some more Photo's by Eric up at the other site soon. Also got Vol 1 and 2 of Animaniacs and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.
All in all...we were pretty blessed this Christmas.
In that spirit, I gave my old desktop to some friends of mine. I bought it for Xmas in 2001. Larry and Linda's comp was an old Win98 clunker. My old desktop, slow to me but speedy to them, was just what they needed. Larry told me his old comp took so long to boot up he could take a shower and make coffee before he could work on it. And the "m" on the keyboard would stick so bad it drove the girls nuts doing homework. Got them all hooked up and Linda says it's the best present they got all year.
We also got to help out the kids of the families that got displaced just before Christmas. The base near Mt. Shasta was closed two weeks before the Holidays due to many, many things piling up at once. 6 med crew, 3 helo pilots were all guaranteed pay until Jan 2. We took up a donation around the Redding base and a couple of the nurses did some Xmas shopping so the kids could have a nice Xmas. Most of the crews were relocated to either Redding or Phoenix. Some took other jobs out of the company in and around the NorCal area.
We were able to pitch in this year for the annual Christmas present for the Pastors at our church. We always feel bad when we can't contribute, even just a little, so this year we made up for it.
Donations, either in dollars and cents or goods and services has been something we've done throughout the years, in good times and bad. We feel like we should be able to give to everyone that asks (and it seems like everyone asks this time of year), but we do what we can with what we have. When we have more, we give more. When we have less, we still give more. God has always blessed us with the ability to pass along out of our excess and when we don't have any excess to give. We get to make our bills and help others.
It feels good not just this time of year but all year long.