Christmas Gifts

When I was around 16 years old, I got the best present ever. Well, maybe it wasn’t the best present EVER, but at the time it was.  A Mickey Mouse watch. My folks had gone to California, and they got me the watch while at Disney. It was a strange request for a 16-year-old in the late ‘60s, but I often got what I asked for. It was a man’s size, not the little one. I wore that watch for years, until the stem pulled out.

After I grew up, the presents got bigger, better, more expensive. Scot was prone to buying me jewelry, never a bad choice. One year he chose a green garnet ring, custom made. He liked rubies, and between Valentine’s and Christmas, I have a very small collection of ruby rings and earrings. The very first Christmas gifts he gave me were ski related: light purple ski gaiters and black stretch ski pants with deep purple bell bottoms that fit over the boots. They were not only practical but stylish. His mom and dad were so disappointed that the first gifts were not jewelry, too. They had hoped for an engagement ring, which didn’t come until a few months later.

Scot didn’t always hit home runs. One year he got me a blender for Christmas… There after we created the “no cord” rule. No Christmas gifts with an electrical cord allowed. I let him break that rule a few years ago when I asked for a KitchenAid mixer. They were the rage, and everyone had one except me. So, a mixer I got—cord and all. Then the rule was reinstated.

When I was around eight and my brother Robert was 12, we got a joint present. One of our sisters had put it under the tree, and the tag had both our names on it. The suspense was killing us—what could it possibly be, addressed to both of us? We dreamed of unknown toys or games that would appeal to both of us. We knew it had to be good, our sister got it after all. Finally, temptation won out, and we took the gift into the front office, and crouched in the corner with the little box between us.  I am sure it was Robert who tore back a corner of the paper to expose the box below. I was bright eyed with anticipation. Then it was disbelief. Then it was shock. Then disappointment. It was an electric toothbrush. New technology at the time but not the technology that thrilled an eight-year-old.

I’ve gotten two jewelry boxes for Christmas presents, both from boyfriends. In 1971 my high school beau, Doug, gave me a fancy gold box with a glass lid. He had gotten it from Jody’s dress shop on Center Avenue, Hardin. I still have it.

And in 1994 Scot gave me a large, wooden jewelry box with the date engraved on the front. We were nine years married by then, and it was a most treasured present. It housed the rings, earrings and necklaces he had given me, and would give me over the course of 32 years of marriage.

Gary Chapman wrote the book, “The Five Love Languages” where he describes how we express love, and how we feel loved. The five languages are Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Christmas is the time for love to be manifest in the gifts we give and get. It is also shown by the time we spend together during the holidays. Love is sent as words in our holiday cards and letters, the hugs we give each other and the helping hands or coins dropped into the red buckets at the store fronts.

I have gotten many presents this year from friends far and near. In my time of need, people were there for me, offering food, helping me pack and move, lending a shoulder to cry on. I received countless letters and cards of condolences. Monetary gifts flowed in Scot’s memory. I have been told hundreds of times that things will be OK and I have never been in want of a hug when I’ve needed it.

I only hope I can give as generously as I have gotten.

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