I remember when those words sent thrills, chills, worries and joys sailing though my body. Way, way back…just a bit shy of a century, I knew that Santa, that wonderful, scary, loving, threatening all powerful figure was sitting in judgment somewhere deciding just how good or how bad a little girl I had been. I knew, but I sure hoped HE hadn’t noticed.
I remember when the center of attention shifted from Santa to the BABY JESUS. It was a confusing time to be a first grader in a Catholic School. There were now TWO judgmental figures in the Xmas mix. And one of them was GOD!
I was a fairly confident kid and I figured out ways to misdirect Santa’s attention. But God’s Son, Jesus was a whole new problem. But wait! There’s MORE! Or maybe there is less because it seems that God and Jesus were one and the same person. See??
Next came “the age of reason”, otherwise known as the year you pretended to believe in Santa and his elves, without, somehow, ignoring the Baby in the manger.
If you were a dedicated, crafty (read sneaky) kid, as I certainly was, you could get two good years out of that. It waa fun. Mother and Dad racing around hiding things and whispering and enjoying their misplaced joy in “one more year.”
Now, I am not about to ask everyone to get back on the Santa sled, but maybe get off the hard drive of an exchange of gift cards.
OR…There is always an OR…
Admittedly, for far too many folks, money is needed. Wanted. Required.
So give it. Grab that cold gift card from the rack at Ralph’s, but wrap it in a tiny, thoughtful gift. Take a quick trip to the dollar store and let your imagination lead you to something you know the recipient likes.
I’m dropping one gift card into a bag of sugar free Life Savers and another into a bag of Cheese Bits. My friends still gets the money but they also get a laugh and the knowledge that I love them enough to go the extra dollar.
And that, is the magic.
Give it some thought. Maybe homemade soup will tell someone that we remembered they really LOVED Lentil soup but hate cooking. Merry Christmas!
One year, when finances were really ‘way, ‘way down, Celia and I scoured thrift shops for pretty bottles which cost, on average, about 5 cents. We filled them with olive oil seasoned it with spices. Happily, we had a huge bush of rosemary growing in our garden that year. It became our favorite flavor. Financial investment per gift? about 27 cents.
Imagination . That does it.
Make someone happy. Spread joy and love. If you can afford a gift card? Yay, you. But if love is what you’ve got to share – do it now.
Sometimes, tomorrow is too late.