Did ‘Santa’ bring you what you were hoping for this year?  Maybe the new year finds you still giddy about that special gift or maybe it finds you disappointed that your hints fell on deaf ears.  Like most, I have received countless gifts from birthdays, Christmases, and special occasions.  Many have been forgotten over the years but there are always those special few that will be remembered.

I remember the Christmas when I was ten years old.  I had opened my last gift and was facing the age old dilemma of which new toy to play with first when my parents indicated that there was one last gift for me.  I don’t recall which parent wheeled it in – I only had eyes for my new bicycle!  Up until that year I had ridden a cobalt blue bike with a fancy glittered, silver banana seat.  Oh that was one rockin’ bike but I was ten now and wanted a grown up bike… a 10-speed.  Unfortunately for me, my mom was afraid I would use the hand brakes to flip myself over the handlebars so instead of the 10-speed I coveted … I got the sensible 3-speed with the pedal brakes.  Although it wasn’t the bicycle I dreamed of it didn’t stop me from riding it as often as possible.

My grandmother was a notorious gift-giver especially in her later years.  I remember the year that she gave my mother onions for her birthday.  As a child I thought that was the worst gift ever but as an adult I now realized how delicious sweet walla-walla onions are!  As my Grandma got older she lost quite a bit of her eyesight and a lot of her common sense.  Which is why, at my bridal shower, I was nervous to open her gift in front of my guests.  I waited for a distraction to quickly and quietly open her gift.  I almost got away with it until someone asked me what was in the gold box… The box itself was recycled – it was a chocolate sampler box.  Inside was an array of used cocktail napkins, coasters, and paper doilies.  In her defense, I’m sure with her failing eyesight she had no idea how apparent it was that the items were used.  She lived during the Depression and was also a widowed mother.  Recycling items wasn’t just vogue – it was daily life.  How apropos is the saying “It’s the thought behind the gift that matters”.

One of my most favorite thoughtful gifts came from a dear friend.  For three years she and I would spend every Thursday together sipping coffee and chatting for hours on end.  We would frequent different coffee shops – from well known chains to local haunts to church cafes.  Sometimes we would stay in and brew our own.  But one thing would remain constant… the connection we shared.  When I moved away I feared we would lose that connection.  Silly me.  Her gift connects me to her every morning – and sometimes several times throughout my day.  My thoughtful friend visited all of our coffee shops and bought me a mug from each one.  She also had a mug custom made with pictures of us and a note “Happy Thursday!”

I hope that this Christmas season brought you the gifts that matter the most… love and time with those that matter most.


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