I was reading an article in the little EMC magazine we get every month. The writer was talking about how things are probably going to be tight for some folks this year. He had a teacher who told him one time to think about his favorite Christmas gift when he was down and needed a lift. I had a sobering thought at that moment. I sat there and thought about that for a few minutes. And do you know what? I can hardly remember any Christmas gift I ever got, much less my favorite one. That's pretty sad. I've gotten a lot of nice gifts through the years: Books, perfume, clothes, electronics, jewelry. But what was my favorite? Can't think of a one. We all run around at Christmas time worrying over buying gifts and spending money, but how long does the recipient remember the gift?
I'll tell what I do remember, though. I remember getting to open one gift on Christmas Eve every year: A new pair of pajamas so we could look nice for the Christmas morning pictures.
I remember going to Granny and Grandaddy's house on Christmas Eve for dinner. How we all packed into that little house I'll never know. Granny and Grandaddy had 6 children, they all had wives and husbands, and each had 3 kids with a few step kids thrown in for good measure. So that's a minimum of 32 people in a 2 bedroom house. The uncles would place bets on whose kid would spill something first. Uncle Roy always won because he had Cindy who had cerebral palsy. On the way home we would tune in to WSB on the radio where they were tracking Santa Clause. Everyone drew names in the weeks before Christmas to exchange gifts. Back then, the aunts and uncles went to Granny and Grandaddy's house at least a once a week or so. Granny would make little slips of paper with the names on them and put them in an envelope on the mantle. Then when we visited we would get to draw a name from the envelope. I don't remember one gift I received.
I remember after I had Jessica my family coming to my house Christmas morning for brunch. It was a nice tradition. When Mama was single, she and Sherry would come and spend the night on Christmas Eve so they could be there Christmas morning. I always cooked goodies in the week before Christmas, so we would have Sausage Pinwheels, pound cake, cookies, fudge, cinnamon rolls, etc. More junk that I care to discuss. I don't remember any of the gifts.
Gifts are nice things, but the thing I remember most about the holidays is being with my family. A lot of them are no longer with us: Mama, Daddy, Grandaddy, Granny, Grandmama, Aunt Ruby, Uncle Donal, Aunt Doris. Granny is cooking roast beef in the pressure cooker. Aunt Doris is cooking a banana cake. Mama is cooking a peppermint candy cake. Aunt Ruby is making strawberry candy. I'm sad they aren't with us any more, but I know they are happy and enjoying each others' company in heaven.
So don't worry so much about the gifts. They might be enjoyed for a short while, but it's more about family and friends and being together at Christmas. That's what your kids and grandchildren are going to remember - the time spend with you.