What was your favorite Christmas gift as a child? Growing up in a home where my parents had seven to nine mouths to feed at any given time—by the time the last child was born the oldest had left home—and with a very a limited budget, holidays were difficult at times.
Money was more than tight. Although we never went hungry, we were always aware of the need to share, and no one ever had more than one slice of bread with dinner. A pot roast on Sunday lasted through the week, and by the following Saturday we finished the rest of the roast with a casserole of some kind–little meat and lots of potatoes.
One of the most memorable stories I heard when I was a bit older was about the year my dad had a mere twenty dollars in his pocket and there was nothing under the tree by Christmas Eve. That night he went to a club, played cards and won a hundred dollars. He felt like a rich man, went home, and he and my mother went shopping. We woke up amazed to find Santa’s generous deliveries under the tree, and we were none the wiser.
I’m not complaining about our financial situation. I knew I was loved, and we never went without. In fact, it was my dad’s favorite holiday. He loved Christmas, even more than Mom. I’m sharing all of this to set the stage before I reveal a few of my favorite things under the tree.
One year my parents were particularly stretched with funds. So my dad wrapped silly items from around the house to include a pair of his long johns and batteries for a portable radio I had in my bedroom. I always knew there would be something delightful that he’d taken the time to put under the tree and it really didn’t matter what it was. For me, he was the one who made my Christmas sweet.
Although I usually cover topics about writing, I thought it more appropriate to muse a bit about the gift of inspiration. For those of you who love to create story, I want to encourage you to keep wrapping up those sentences. Don’t give up. There is someone who needs to read what you want to say. It could be a memoir for your children or a magical place for others to escape. I guess the point is to remember that gifts and their fancy wrappings aren’t what really matter. It’s the giving of your heart and a part of yourself that you offer.
Christmas was very special to my dad. He gave memories that have lasted a lifetime. In fact, he loved it so much I believe he waited weeks on purpose to pass away so he could leave this earth on Christmas Day 2002. How could I ever forget how much he meant to me as every year I unwrap a package and think of him?
Your words could have the same effect on someone else someday—and perhaps even a stranger. Because of YOUR gift writing you will leave them memories that will last a lifetime.
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