The MTC is officially decorated with two big trees, lights and we have a party today with the Area leaders and Saturday with the temple. Connie bought a red sweater and luckily had a number of red scarfs, so she is set. We are awaiting the arrival of Michael, 4 Italian missionaries and at least 5 new North Americans, so all is well here.
I did have one experience with my Mexico condo that was enlightening. Every week I pay Rosa to take care of the place and every December I give her money for Christmas (everyone does that for their employees and there is a formula for how much you are to give which is an extra monthly payment) I did not give much thought to it this year as the condo was only used two weeks this year so there was not much maintenance. Last year I sent Rosa double what is normal for the Christmas bonus.
This year I got a note from Rosa's daughter asking for a 3 week advance so Rosa could be gone for awhile to visit her dad. I wrote to El Cid and told them to give her the three weeks pay for the weeks she would be gone, plus the extra monthly Christmas payment. I got back a note from the daughter asking why I had not given her the double bonus like last year. She said that they were planning on it and needed it. Of course I sent a note to El Cid to double it and explained that it was only an oversite on my part.
This experience got me to thinking about human nature. And it got me to thinking about the expectations of our children at birthdays and Christmas. I think all of you kids do a good job with your children and I do not think you get too carried away at Christmas. Just remember that when it comes to giving and receiving, we may think we are doing something good, but it might not really be that good for the child. Also, sometimes when we give, we put a strain on family finances that cause January and February to be very stressful. Give your children your love. Give your children your time. Make memories with them like you try to do every year with these family outings. Take pictures, talk about Jesus and help them to feel that we give presents to each other because we love our family and want to be together forever.
Don't get too carried away with what Santa does and does not do. Remember, he is not real and if you try to sell him too much, your children may not be able to trust you when you talk about the Savior, who really does actually give us something.
The truth is, as far as your parents are concerned--we love you and we would do anything for you, but we are not always sure what we should actually do. The Christmas present that we gave you this year was prompted by a feeling that we both had in the temple a week or so ago. We hope it was the right thing to do this year. We want you to know that we will always try to help, but we are not always sure when we are actually helping. Have a good Christmas.