How’s that for a long title? Ha! But I wanted to take a minute to talk about my very favorite part of Christmas every single year: children-gift-exchange on Christmas Eve. Can you see how excited Claire was to give this gift to Lucy years ago?

Ok sorry had to include a few more. Because it is magical and beautiful and that family room of ours gets filled right up to the very brim with thick love. I think honestly it’s one of the best ways we’ve found to teach our kids the gift of giving (although don’t go thinking they have that down, no sir-ee, they’ve got a long way to go, but maybe that’s what makes Christmas Eve so magical).

When my parents were here I got a chance to think about this a little extra because of a podcast we did together.

But let’s back up for a sec. to talk about how my parents came to town twice in the last couple months, and how spoiled we felt having those two around:

This time around they were here for Lucy’s MCO concert:

(My dad was with my brother and Dave was en route to China so we missed out on all of them for those pictures, darn it!)

We played tennis, they came to Lucy’s piano recital, they helped me stuff a bazillion Christmas cards, made “daddy drinks,” sent Claire off to Winter Formal, my mom ran errands with me, Grandfather told Lucy stories out by the pool, my dad and I cheered on Claire at her volleyball practice, we all cheered Elle and Lar on on their MARATHON, rode bikes with Lucy to school, my mom helped me cook:

We slowed down time and sat and played chess, my Dad and me. And I beat that guy which was pretty exciting in my book.

All the while I was dodging questions about Elle and Lar since it was a secret they were getting engaged, but that last night as my Dad and I drove through the dark to pick up Claire from volleyball I had to spill the beans to him (since it was an hour away and I was bursting with anticipation). Loved that little talk as we slipped along the freeway.

And then huge smiles ’til all our cheeks hurt when the news came in, and an impromptu engagement celebration past midnight on a school night with hot chocolate.

Because when someone gets engaged you can’t just go to sleep for crying out loud!

Ok, but on to what the title of this post is all about…while my parents were here they asked me to sit in with them on one of their “Eyres on The Road” podcast recording. Not sure if I have mentioned that they do this before, and I am aware that I am a little on the biased side, but it’s a pretty great one (you can find it if you search the podcast app on your phone). The one we recorded was an episode called “teaching children charity,” and we talked all about focusing on the gift of giving at Christmastime, and teaching empathy and love in general.

You can find it HERE if you want to take a listen. We talk a about a lot of different things, but my favorite is talking about how we do Christmas Eve: the children gift-giving. They started this tradition when we were little, and I think all of my siblings now do it in their own families. And as I’ve said many times before, it is ALWAYS, without fail, my very favorite part of Christmas.

They requested that I share this little note here on the blog personally from them, so here you go:

Hi there 71toes followers,

There are no words for how much we love our daughter Shawni, or for how proud we are of all she does [blah, blah, we don’t have to listen to all that here, so I’m cutting out a little of the mushiness to get to the main point (but thanks m&d:).]

We just wanted all of you who follow Shawni to have easy access to five additional things that may be useful to your marriage and family:

  1. Most of our books are now free on line at this site where you can register for free.
  2. All kinds of free information for parents, and the Joy School and Alexander Values programs.
  3. Instagram @richardlindaeyre where we do a personal post on marriage or family each Tuesday and one on Christ each Sunday (Reflecting our belief that Eternal Family is the END and Jesus is the MEANS.)
  4. www.Family.Is where the most family-helpful social media, podcasts and websites are recognized with the Family.Is Awards. Shawni will be one of the Judges for these Awards, and you can nominate your favorites.
  5. where you can get our newest books for our author price of
    40% off with free shipping. Just use the access code SHAWNIFRIEND.

With love from our house to yours,
Linda and Richard Eyre

There you go, a little pre-Christmas-gift from my parents to you.

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  1. Little Claire and Lucy is sooo cute! In addition your Dad’s glasses totally ROCK! Thanks for your blog. Love every minute of reading it and wish I found you earlier. Merry Christmas to you all.

    1. Aw thank you, I’m sorry I’m just getting to these comments but I appreciate them and yes, my Dad has some awesome glasses 🙂

  2. Merry Christmas to you and all in your family. I enjoy your blog for years now, so much insight and joy. I appreciate the light you share. 💚❄️

  3. Ok, this is a question that’s going to come across as random, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it and this post seemed appropriate, seeing as Elle just got engaged! You seem like you have a great relationship with your in-laws, and your parents have had plenty of practice playing parents-in-law as well! I’ve been married for almost 4 years, and I’m looking for advice on getting along with my MIL. Despite our efforts, it feels like we see the world from opposite perspectives, which only became more apparent when we started having kids. My husband and I are the first to get married on both sides of the family, so we’re all really new at this! I wondered if you had any advice, links, articles, things your parents had written, etc., about having happy relationships with in-laws and would be willing to share. I’m learning this is a two-way road that I can take the initiative on, and I want to make it better! Thanks!

    1. Hi McKenna I’m so sorry I’m slow at getting back to this question, it’s a good one! I think every relationship is just so different so it’s tricky to offer much advice. I know I’ve heard so many stories about difficult mother in laws or daughter in laws which is so understandable because people come from such vastly different backgrounds and have such different priorities. Plus it’s hard to “share” someone when you’re used to having them to yourself all your life, you know? I’ll ask my parents if they have any suggestions but honestly the best reading I’d recommend is this book I took a course about last Fall, and taking a new course this year (which started today!) It is here: I know the title may throw you off, especially if you don’t have any “addictions”, but man alive, it has helped me change my perspective towards others in such a beautiful way. Helps me give God’s grace to others and to myself as I try to maneuver through all types of relationships. I’ll come back and let you know if I think of anything else.

      For now, sending love on over! The fact that you are aware and have a desire to make things great is the best step, that desire will help you figure it out.
      Love, Shawni

  4. This is the first holiday season one of our kids isn’t here. Our oldest left the MTC right before Thanksgiving. We were missing him so much when we got a box in the mail from him that said – Christmas gifts! Open any day after Thanksgiving! Well his brothers were so excited we opened them right after Thanksgiving dinner. When my husband opened the box we started to cry seeing that he’d shopped for each of us at the little MTC store and then meticulously wrapped each gift in paper towels from the bathrooms there. They were taped and labeled just like he had used wrapping paper. It took me awhile to stop crying as we opened those sweet, simple gifts because all I could think about is the thoughtfulness he showed during a time when he could have easily (and understandably) not taken a second to think about his families Christmas gifts!! It was just one of those sweet moments as a parent. Now he’s farrrr across the world and he said he still wants to be included in our Christmas Eve secret sibling gift exchange. He was on the phone when we drew names and he was so excited to send a little something from Hungary. Anyway, long comment to say that these giving traditions really matter and I learned in a big way this year the sweet impact they have. Xo

    1. Aw that is the sweetest story! Thank you so much for sharing it, what a kind and thoughtful way to give from his heart! Pure love right there.

  5. I would love help on this as well, however I think that Shawni has talked about this before and said that she has always adored her in-laws. I think that they are quite similar in terms of viewpoints etc. My in-laws are from a vastly different background culturally, so I feel like I need help personally from someone who has experience there. Not saying Shawni’s in-laws are exactly the same, but I think they all have a lot in common in terms of values and priorities etc which probably makes things easier. Sigh.

    1. Yes I should have mentioned this up there in that last comment too…I hit the jackpot with my in-laws, I love them so much, and they are very similar to my parents in the way they live life and have raised their children. So they are so easy to love, and they accept me and all the other in-laws with such unconditional love it is such a great example to me. I don’t have the hurdles so many others have as they adjust to a new set of parents. I really do think that book I mentioned above is a great place to start to try to figure out how to love unconditionally even when the going gets tough. Wishing you the best of luck and sending out love to you on your journey!

  6. Thanks for this great post! Loved reading the comments as well. You are a marvel! I do have to say that we have one set of in-laws whose culture and religion is entirely different from ours but the key of our great relationship with them is just love! We have learned to love what they love and though they live in Europe, we adore them and their family. Love conquers all!

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