Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 21: Lessons Learned from Mom

Day 21: Finding the Gifts is Half the Fun

I don't know about you, but we have some interesting Christmas traditions--one of which I am sure most people have never even considered. Way back when my parents had a super tight Christmas with almost no money for gifts for them wild brood. What they ended up giving us each was a dish pan (you know, the old style ones that are plastic, somewhat bigger than a standard-sized sheet of paper, and several inches deep. if you don't know what I'm talking about...you're too young. Sorry.) , colored pencils, regular pencils, a coloring book, some colored paper for crafts, lined paper (or was it notebooks? I can't remember.) And a few other miscellaneous craft items like glue sticks and scissors. That was it.

The fun of finding and unwrapping it lasted all morning!

Desperate to make the little bit of Christmas seem like a lot, my parents wrapped each of the items for our craft boxes individually, then hid them around the house. My dad wrote silly little rhymes (seriously, they were horrible, but that meant it was easy to write ones just as good in succeeding years.) for each place and we would all race to the place where the presents were hiding. We would each bring back our gifts to the living room and open them. We each had a moment to admire our new pencils (or whatever it was we'd opened), and then he would read the next rhyme.

You know, I didn't realize that year that there was almost nothing for Christmas. What we actually got wasn't all that important. The fun we had chasing after the gifts was the best part, and if my parents hadn't pointed out, years later, that the gifts had been on the slim side that year, I doubt I would have even realized.

Now that we're all grown and half of us have kids of our own, we still hide presents at Christmas when there are grandkids around. They insist. And I've written my share of really bad rhymes to tell the kids where to look next. It's a tradition we all love--even if we just watch the kids tear off in search of the place where cakes are baked.

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