I don’t know how it started.

Was it their idea, or was it ours?

It began when our three kids were elementary-aged. Their Christmas gifts to my husband and I were folded scraps of paper with promises inside.

“I will clean my room.”

“I will help with the dishes.”

“I will hike with you.”

As the kids got older, the "Christmas coupons" became fewer and a new holiday tradition emerged, wrapped up in love and familiarity.

Each Christmas morning, after the gifts have all been opened, our kids entertain us with a poem or song they have written about our family. Mostly it’s about their mom and dad, teasing us about the things we say and do as parents. They can enlist the help of their siblings in the performance but there are also solo acts. There have been rap songs as well as Christmas songs and one year, even some synchronized dance moves. My husband and I sit back and laugh. We all laugh. It’s a joy that can’t be found in a gift box.

The 3,800 Club

It has become my favourite Christmas tradition and I would never give it up, but this year, we’re also bringing back those scraps of paper with promises inside. However, the promises will now revolve around doing something kind for someone in the spirit of the season and all five of us will be getting in on it. The second thing each of us will write on the paper is something we are thankful for. I know exactly what I will write about.

You see, last year, the holidays were filled with uncertainty. I was waiting for biopsy results, worried the lump I had found in my breast was cancer – a fear that would later prove founded. But last week, my oncologist gave me the news I have been hoping so long to hear: there are no signs of cancer in me at all. It is the best Christmas gift I could receive.

Wishing all of you the very best this holiday season.

May Christmas bring you love and peace, but may it also bring you hope.

Michele Brunoro will be providing ongoing updates during her medical leave on her blog, The 3,800 Club.