Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been my favorite holidays. As a child, gift receiving played a major role in my joy, but as I got older, the holidays reminded me of family and togetherness and of course as a woman of faith, the true reason for the season. So as I’m celebrating my 32nd Thanksgiving and Christmas season (32nd because I have no memory of the first 8), I’m beginning to feel a twinge of sadness about this time of the year. Why? Glad you asked.
It’s all become a bit too much. What’s up with Christmas decorations on store shelves next to Halloween candy in October? And how about the word “Xmas” replacing the word “Christmas” to save space. And is it my imagination or has “Black Friday” turned into “Black Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Cyber Monday and every day until Christmas?” Hold the madness people. I like to get a good bargain as much as the next person, but the commercialism of the holidays have begun to wear on me.
I remember over 25 Christmases ago receiving a piece of jewelry from my grandmother. It was an Avon birthstone ring. It probably cost around $9 and for some reason she wrapped it inside of an empty peanut brittle box. In all the excitement of that Christmas morning, I set what I thought was my box of peanut brittle aside to eat later. Imagine my surprise when I finally opened it to find a ring. My mom hadn’t texted a long list of my Christmas demands to my grandmother, my grandmother hadn’t stood on line for hours trampling other grandmothers to get that ring, and she hadn’t maxed out her credit cards to get it.
For years my grandmother mistakenly believed that she and I shared the same birthstone and so she’d gotten the silver-plated aquamarine ring from Avon to cement what we had in common (Not only do we not share the same birthstone, but her birthstone isn’t aquamarine, but that’s not the point of my story.) My grandmother has since passed, and as scatter brained children often do, I lost the ring years later. But the thoughtfulness of that gift stays with me even today and renders her $9 gift priceless.
Before the onslaught of Wiis, DVD players in cars, 24 hour television and stores that opened at 4:00am for shoppers, I had the privilege of sitting with my grandmother for hours, listening to her tell stories and singing and dancing the “Hukilau” for her viewing pleasure. My hope is that our generation won’t be the last to grow up sitting at our grandmother’s feet listening to stories without the interruption of video games and streaming movies. I also hope that all children get to experience, at least once in their lifetime, the blessing of receiving a truly priceless gift.