For our kids Christmas is a time to eat lots of sweets, decorate the tree and  eagerly await the day when they can receive the presents they most dearly desire.  Each year brings new joys and different experiences.

Last year, Sydney developed a crisis of confidence with regard to her belief in Santa Claus.  We sat her down to explain that her Mommy and Daddy get to play the part of Santa and that she could join us in this now that she was old enough.  She really got into helping us find new and exciting ways for our elves to get into trouble and provide fun for Jack and Walker when they woke up.  Sydney played a part in providing new experiences for the boys,   seeing what the elves had gotten into or brought them during the night.  She was also helpful in picking out presents for the boys and some setup for Christmas morning.  However, she still needed to go to bed with everyone else to make sure Santa’s work was carried out expediently.

This year, Jennifer and Sydney were looking at Pinterest to find good ideas for the elves and the webpage was left open for all to see.  As is his usual practice, Jack was up before anyone else so he could get ready and play Minecraft, Roadblocks or another favorite computer game before it was time for school.  He just happened to notice that the elves on the Pinterest screen were getting into the same mischief that ours were and figured a few things out.  Of course, we were somewhat proud of him and disappointed at the same time.  Our middle child was also growing up.

So this year, both Jack and Sydney are helping to get the elves into mischief and leaving surprises for Walker.  Jack did not go so far as to admit that he does not believe in Santa Claus.  His thought process may lead him to believe that more presents is better than fewer and admitting disbelief may impact this equation.  Walker is still a believer, however.   We are having fun keeping the Christmas spirit alive for him as the excitement builds for the big day.

We will watch the “NORAD Santa Tracker” again this Christmas Eve and cherish these memories while our kids are still young.  Unfortunately, they do not stay young forever.  We are working hard to instill into them what the true spirit and meaning of Christmas means for them, our family and friends.

For us, Christmas is a time to enjoy family and friends.  It is a time to experience the joy of giving.  It is a time to be selfless and experience the joy that comes from seeing that you have been able to brighten someone’s day.  Many years ago, a great sacrifice was made so that those who accept the gift can enjoy the most beautiful present we could ever desire.  Likewise we make smaller sacrifices for our family, friends and other loved ones so they can enjoy our gifts.

Spending time with family during this time of the year is always gratifying, even as the kids grow older.  Thankfully they have not lost the Christmas spirit and they appreciate the true reason for the season.

We think of you as our extended family.  Whether we’ve known each other for two or over twenty years, we always want to maintain that closeness.   We want to let you know that we cherish your membership in the Franklin family and wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.

With Warm Thoughts,

Joe & Jennifer

The “bad guys” got to our elves that night!

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