My Blog

December 25, 2015

Gifts of Christmas

       Opening presents on Christmas morning is a thrill and a delight. To watch children’s faces light up and hear their screams can’t help but bring us joy. There is nothing like sitting around the Christmas tree in jammies and robes, feet propped on the ottoman, mug of hot cocoa or coffee in hand, watching while kids go through piles of wrapping paper and bows to find that prized gift. Laughter, happiness, joy everywhere. Well, almost.

Several years back, we attended a Christmas gathering where the family had received, not just the presents they had bought for their 6 kids and grandkids, but an additional pile of presents from a charity that hadn’t given away all their gifts. The stack of wrapped presents was enormous. The children were awestruck at the mountain of goodies under the tree.

           The parents began handing out the wrapped packages—completely at random since they were generic gifts. As each child tore open the wrapping paper, cheerful and happy, exclaiming over the contents—dolls, toys, games—the insistent parents took the gifts from them, set them aside “to play with later”, and handed them another box to open, and another, and another, and another. The two year-old at last began to cry at having his presents taken from him. Gift-giving gone amuck!
           And then there was the time that I spent months laboriously designing and sewing a lovely jeweled sweatshirt for my mother-in-law. It was akin to the ‘knitted sweater from granny’ trauma. My mother-in-law was an elegant, dainty, refined woman who would no more wear a sweatshirt than she would have worn a hair shirt. She smiled politely and I never saw the sweatshirt again. How often does THAT happen?

How on earth to find the ‘perfect’ gift? It takes time and thought and effort and, admit it, lots of blood, sweat and tears. We rack our brains to think of something unusual, something unique, something truly thoughtful, maybe even useful? Madison Avenue will be happy to help. Ads everywhere, suggestions on TV, in the newspapers, in the magazines, pop-up ads on every web site and inter-net screen.

           And then we have to go get the thing—elbowing  through crowds, pushing and shoving to reach the stack of impossible-to-find gifts. The malls and stores—and Wal-mart—are full of people scrabbling for the last of the ‘doll de jour’ or Star Wars sabers or who-knows-what latest game or toy.

Of course, now-a-days, we don’t have to stress at all. It’s ALL on-line. One click and we’re there. And, blessings on their little pea-picking souls, Amazon will be happy to send it to us overnight. All you have to do is sign up for Prime. Free shipping. Free wrapping. Free gift cards. And the Fed-Ex guy keeps coming. We’ve gotten to know Don very, very well.

          And what on earth to get for Hubby Flatbottom? When he wants something he buys it for himself. Christmases past there have been beautiful brids-eye maple humidors (3 now, but he doesn’t get to smoke cigars anymore), elegant pipes (he already has 20-plus), comfy T-shirts (useless and unworn if they don’t have pockets), bedroom slippers (how many can one man use?). I’ve finally begun getting him gift cards to Elegant Nails where Tina will be happy to give him a “luxury’ pedicure.

And what does he get me? Since I was born in October, I’ve become the recipient of opals. Opals and emeralds. And more opals and emeralds. Every possible combination of opals and emeralds that Helzberg jewelers (on-line) can think up. Three Christmases running, now, three little boxes of opals and emeralds. Opal and emerald ring. Opal and emerald earrings. Opal and emerald pendant. Would he notice if I traded them in?

But the greatest gift of all is LOVE and that doesn’t cost anything.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, sent with all my love.

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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