I have always loved Christmas and all that goes along with it. The church services, the music, the decorations, the time together with family and friends, and of course, all the food and goodies.
Everyone has different holiday traditions that bring them joy. What do you think of when you recall Christmas as a child and how as an adult? Did you pass on the traditions that you grew up with? Did you make some of your own?
Presents seem to be part of Christmas in most households, both giving and receiving. I recall being so excited to open my gifts as a child—for my family, it was on Christmas Eve—and once we started, it was a flurry of paper and exclamations as everyone opened gifts together. Then we would run around hugging and thanking everyone. I know that some families open gifts one by one, some open them Christmas morning, and some have scavenger hunts to find their presents, but however it is done, it seems to be filled with fun and excitement.
But there are children here at the Ranch who have never received presents at Christmas time and never experienced those fun family traditions. Or when they think of Christmas, they recall the stress of living within constant turmoil or upheaval.
Just last week, I overheard one of our kids ask if they would get real presents here at the Ranch. He was so pleased to hear that he would indeed have presents just for him under the tree. What tugs at my heartstrings even more is that our youth care workers have witnessed many kids over the years open a present, and then ask to rewrap it and send it to one of their younger siblings. After experiencing the joy of receiving a gift, their first thought is to share that feeling with their family. That is a perfect example of why I think our children are so special.
Our critical ministry could not exist without the love, prayers, and support of each and every one of you. Thank you so much for caring and for all you do for these kids.
May God bless you and I pray you have a very Merry Christmas!
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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.