Truthfully, I'm not much for shopping... but I do love giving gifts... not just any gifts though. I think gifts should be useful, have meaning or both. For instance; every Christmas I go to Costco and buy each of our kids their own box of gum. It's the perfect gift. I know their gonna love it, chew it and not fight over who took the last pack. It's a gift that means something and serves a purpose.
I wonder... of all the gifts my husband and I have given our kids over the years... the bikes, the game systems the Barbie Hotel... what if anything of that... will they remember?
Maybe our son, Alex, will remember the year we bought him air soft pistols... yeah that was a great idea... until he and the neighbor kid shot the mirrors out on the car. I hid those air soft pistols so well that day ... I can't even remember where I put them.
I wonder... what do I remember?
I remember general things about Christmas when I was a kid... like;
Christmas meant a lot to my mom. She loved to decorate, still does... and she's very good at it. I remember her making so many cookies and and all of us getting into trouble for eating them before we were told we could. I remember the parish priest who came to get his package of Christmas cookies and... as I remember it... always had a little too much to drink. I remember my Grandma, my mom's mom, sending a box from Minnesota. In it was always... a popcorn cake, homemade frosted molasses cookies and a new pair of crochet slippers for me and each of my five brothers and sisters.
I remember those kinds of things about Christmas growing up but had to focus really hard to remember an ACTUAL Christmas present given to me by my parents in my childhood. I know they must have spent a bunch of money every year on us kids... and would probably be disappointed to learn that I can only remember one gift.
The only gift I can remember receiving from my parents growing up... was a stuffed animal. It was a frog about two and a half feet long from nose to flippers. It was actually more like a toad with spots. It had long legs that dangled when we walked. I called him Froggie and as strange as it may sound he was a good friend to me. I was probably seven or eight when I got him. I told him everything and took him everywhere possible. In the midst of some difficult times in our family he was always there for me. He was not spectacular... to anyone but me. I doubt he was HUGELY expensive... but he really meant something to me and obviously still does.
As we count down these last few days to Christmas, I feel inspired to pray;
Dear God Please keep our eyes, ears and even our hearts open for gift ideas. Help us to listen closely to what the people around us are really asking for. (Amen)
Shopping is fine... and certainly good for the economy... but if we think deeply and creatively we just might find a very special something which doesn't have to cost a ton of money... or even any money at all... but will be remembered and treasured for a lifetime.