Sunday, December 21, 2014

Andrew Swearingen | Spread the Christmas Joy

Christmas Presence

When it comes to Christmas, I'm a total kid at heart.

I've outgrown my days of drooling over the Sears toy catalog, circling the really cool toys, then leaving it out on the kitchen table where I hoped my mom would notice it. Now I'm all grown up and I have to live vicariously through what my nieces and nephews receive on Christmas, which can be a pretty sweet gig. I'll never forget the fun when my oldest nephew received a castle play set on Christmas. He toddled up to me and asked “Uncle Andrew, can you help me build my siege tower?”

I try to be mindful to get the kids toys that they will actually play with. I have several nieces who are in to the “Disney Princess” thing, so I don't get very many cool toys to play with from them, although on occasion they've suckered me into playing with their princess toys.

But, every once in a while I get some nice surprises, like last Thanksgiving when I was playing with my nephew Sam. He opened up all of his toy bins, in that way that five-year-old boys do so well, and I was delighted to find that his collection included Star Wars toys , the Avengers, Ninja Turtles, Legos and even some pro-wrestling figures (this kid is sooo my nephew).

So, that year for Christmas I bought Sam a Star Wars Lego set (the A-wing star fighter with an Admiral Ackbar figure for those of you who want to know). I knew it was a great gift....and apparently so did someone else, because when Sam opened my present, he let out a disappointed “Aww. I already got this one.” (I figured it wasn't a big deal, because extra Legos just means 'extra parts' in my book, but Sam did not share this opinion.)

My sister-in-law pleasantly explained that she could just take it to Wal-mart and exchange it for another set. I couldn't help but feel a little miffed at this. Granted it was given as a gift and if Sam didn't want the extra set then that was fine. But it was my gift to him. I'd picked it out, bought it, and wrapped it. So it was a pretty disappointing to see it get returned.

And apparently my entire family does their Christmas shopping at Wal-mart, because Sam got another Lego set that needed to be returned (apparently you can do that even without a receipt, which kinda blew my mind). This ended up working out really, really well because the two medium sized Lego sets were exchanged for one big one that built a dragon. It was pretty complex. Lots of moving parts and ball joints and such.

And guess who got to help Sam build his dragon? The same uncle who helped build the siege tower.

That's one thing I learned about the Holidays as I got older. Yes it's fun to get stuff. And all of us enjoy giving good gifts to the people we love. The trappings of the season are great but in the end it's less about those things, as much as it is about just being around each other.

So this year, just take some time to get away from crossing items off your holiday shopping list and your travel plans, use this time to savor the people God has blessed you with.

And who knows. Maybe you'll get to build a siege tower and help rescue the Disney Princesses from a Lego dragon.

Many of you know my love of all things that Ronie Kendig writes (check out her website HERE and her books HERE). Well, a dear friend of mine has offered up a copy of the HAWK audio CD. She got an extra copy and, best friends being what they are, wanted to offer it to you, my dear readers! How cool is that? So...

Leave a comment below to enter for the chance to win a audiobook copy of HAWK by Ronie Kendig.

Andrew Swearingen is a blogger and aspiring writer, living in the hidden kingdom that is Southern Illinois, where (for his 'real job') he works for a landscaping company. He also finds occasional work as a substitute teacher, serves in his church's kid's program, and has on several occasions saved the city from robot invasion.

(One of those isn't completely true, but we'll let you guess which one.)

Twitter: @WittySwearWords

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