Hunting for the perfect Christmas present can sometimes be a hug ordeal. Running from store to store, checking sale ads, even surfing the web, sometimes that one special item simply eludes us—or we may have no idea what the certain item is.
There have been numerous times when my children have asked for a Christmas present and I have no idea what it is, much less where I can go to buy it—or the item is so popular every store you go to is sold out. Last year it was Color Game Boy. At the end of summer, you could find them everywhere and in every color. By Thanksgiving they were no where to be found, and after searching town after town, I ended up settling for the only color I could find, which, of course was not the preferred color. Remember Furby? The first Christmas of Furby was a futile search, and by the time I found one for the next Christmas, Furby was a thing of the past. What about Cabbage Patch Kids? For two years I hunted high and low for the perfect doll--now you can find them anywhere, but their popularity has died down.
Okay, so you manage to fulfill the lists of all your little elves, but how, where do you hide your stash until the big day? Obviously, I am not sneaky enough, or my kids have extraordinary skills as spies, because they always seem to find at least one of their presents early. Last year I finally found what I think is the perfect hiding place, and I could tell you where it is, but then I would have to kill you.
Now, I am a wonderful snoop—you were wondering where my kids got it? My Granny Devine used to call my “Nosey Rosy”, but try as I might; I never had any luck finding my parents hiding places. Sure, I was great at peeling the tape off presents left u under the tree, and then carefully concealing the fact that I had opened them, but I could never find the hiding spot.
In 1971, I was nine-years-old and I still believed in Santa—actually, I have never stopped believing. This particular Christmas, Santa gave us kid’s new bedroom furniture. My sister and I got matching twin beds with a dresser and nightstand to use in our shared bedroom. My brother got the same for his room. This furniture was set up and waiting in our rooms when we came home from Granny Devine’s house on Christmas Eve. We also each had a beautiful new bedspread with curtains to match. This was a big deal for me, because up to this point, my sister and I shared a full size bed. Now I had a bed of my own. I thought Santa was full of magic that year, but I kept wondering why Granny Devine came home with us that night, because this was something she never did. It was years later I learned Granny had made the bedspread and curtains, and she wanted to be there to see our faces. I’m sure she was happy with our excitement. In addition to the bedspread and curtains, she had also made each of us a bathrobe and crotched my sister and me a pair of house slippers.
It is better to give than to receive—how many times have we heard, or said, that very thing? Of course, as children, we wanted everything in sight—the latest toy or game or doll. As adults, our priorities change, especially after we have children of our own, after all, Christmas is for children.
Still, everyone has memories of that special Christmas when we wanted, and probably received, one special item we dreamed about for months. For me, it was the Christmas of 1973 and I was 11-years-old, not yet a teenager, but definitely not a child, or at least that is what I thought. This particular year I asked for roller skates like the older kids had, a stuffed turtle with a denim shell, and the brand new Hudson Brothers album. The Hudson Brothers has a Saturday morning television show I was absolutely in love with. I never missed an episode, even going so far as to tape the shows on my audio tape recorder. What I wouldn’t have give if VCR technology was available back then. Anyway, that Christmas I did receive everything I asked for, but I am sure my parents had a hard time finding the Hudson Brothers album; after all, they weren’t a very popular band. Believe it or not, I still have that album after 30 years. My own kids think I’m crazy.
Over the years I have received many wonderful gifts, but as I get older, I get more joy out of give the perfect gift, especially to my children. I remember hunting for He-Man and She-Ra items, Teddy Roping, talking Big Bird, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony and Barney. I have shopped for the latest CDs from Korn, Nine-Inch Nails, and Nirvana, as well as Britney Spears and Aaron Carter. Every year presents from “Mom and Dad” are wrapped in a wide variety of papers, but gifts from “Santa” are all wrapped in the same identical paper, lovingly wrapped by elves.
We all know Christmas is not all about presents, but when you have children, gifts play a major role in the holidays. Even though you try to teach your children that it is better to give than to receive, it is hard for them to see past all the commercialization. Let’s face it, at Christmas time; advertisements are aimed straight for our kids.
Christmas will take on a new meaning in 2001, because of the War on Terror still raging over seas. This year children will still be receiving that one special gift, but maybe they will receive something even more precious. Even though it will not fit in a Christmas stocking, we are all blessed with the preservation of America’s freedom and the unification of the American people.
Merry Christmas and God bless us all.
© Bobbi Rightmyer, December 2001