As their family grew (both kids married, one with two small children of their own and the other with a new one on the way), their kids wanted to teach their children what the spirit of the holidays is all about, and that giving is more important than receiving.
For the last three years, as a family, they've adopted a family in need. They would get together on a Saturday or Sunday, go shopping with the list they got from the at-risk school where their daughter taught and went shopping.
Taking all the gifts back to my friend's house, they'd have a wrapping party and finish with a special brunch or late lunch. Then, on Monday, their daughter would take everything to school to be delivered to the family just before holiday break.
One year, my friend's daughter had the family's child in her classroom. That child was so excited to report, after Christmas, that everyone in his family got several of the gifts they'd asked for, not knowing his teacher was responsible for it (and she never told!) He wore his new clothes to school everyday for a week!
If ever there was a time to be a fly on the wall, seeing the happy faces on Christmas morning in the homes of those lucky families adopted by my friend and her family, this would be it!
As for my friend and her family, they still exchange small gifts among the adults and the children still get a visit from Santa, but I think the best gift of all is their new family tradition!
Wishing you all the joys this holiday season brings! Be sure to check out my other secondary friends, as they share their favorite home and classroom traditions.