30 Days of Christmas Day 11: Faye Remembers Christmas

I remember Christmas. I’d start thinking in late September about what each person in my family would like for a gift. Barb was always the easiest to buy for, because…books. She didn’t much care what kind as long as it was something she could learn from. And she could learn from mystery novels about motives and justice, from classics about life and integrity, or from Bill Bryson about just about anything. She honestly didn’t care what she was reading, as long as she was reading.
Retta wasn’t hard to buy for either, but for a different reason. She told you what she wanted, in detail, with directions and a price range. Sometimes it was written down, just to be sure.
That left Mom and Dad, who always said they didn’t want anything. That’s such an unsatisfactory answer to “What would you like for Christmas?” but it’s what we always got. Dad was funny because for some strange reason, the man who never shopped would go out late in November and buy himself new underwear, socks, and undershirts. He wore the same suit to church every Sunday and had a farmer’s disgust for things like bathrobes and bedroom slippers. Apparently real men get completely dressed before they leave their bedrooms in the morning and stay that way until bedtime. For Dad then, there wasn’t much to buy except new, bright-white handkerchiefs.
And Mom? What do you buy for the woman who spends her life making everyone else’s life easier? It seemed unfair to buy household goods or aprons. Mom shared any gift that could be shared, so chocolates or fancy teas was, if not wasted, at least not personal enough in my view. My favorite gift to her was a pair of earrings that thrilled her with their beauty. I was so pleased to see her wear them that first time that I didn’t notice until years later that she never wore them a second time. When she died, I found them tucked in a corner of her jewelry box, and as an adult, I saw how cheap and gaudy they were. I understood then that Mom would never have chosen them, but she'd kept them anyway. They mattered because I’d bought them for her and her alone, and she knew they were given with love.


  1. Sorry this is long.
    Christmas as a child was limited, slightly by my nickel-a-week allowance, but the "5 & Dime Store" was within walking distance, without crossing a street, so I had a magnificent selection. My sister always got a little doll or hair ribbon. Dad usually got a new pair of black socks. Mom was a lover of pretty, little things and I added to her collections with tiny china dogs, or little, lacy china ladies.

    Sister always lost or destroyed the doll in a day or two, Dad added the socks to his collection of black socks, but Mom displayed the figurines on the shelves of the glass front china cabinet in the, used only on holidays and special occasions, dining room.

    Sis moved far away after her 4th marriage. Dad died too young from lung cancer, so when Mom died, I was tasked with the chore of estate Executrix.

    There they were, all in rows at the front of the cabinet, just as she arranged them many years before; those tacky little, made in Japan, lacy dogs and ladies. They were not the slightest bit attractive to me and I didn't have room for the dining room "Suite" in my small home, with two small kids, two small dogs and a very large cat. I brought some of the nick-knacks home with me, but having no sheltered place for them, one by one they succumbed to the boisterous activities of my household.

    Eventually, I packed the survivors away, but lost the box when my marriage split up and "the Ex" kept everything he thought I valued. It didn't seem worth the fight to recover all my extraneous possessions, having required a court order to obtain my sewing machine, jewelry, silver flatware and books.

    Today the kids have teenage children of their own and the "ex" died a couple years ago.

    I still remember those tiny, tacky china figurines and clutching those treasured, hard-earned nickels as I watched the clerk wrap them in tissue paper for me and Mom's reaction and love as she set them tenderly on their place of honor in the glass front, china cabinet. I still tear up thinking of those long ago Christmas gifts and the love that they embodied. I'd give a nickel to see them all again.

    1. Moms are the best at appreciating the thought rather than the gift.

  2. I remember buying little things I thought were soooo pretty for Mom when I was young. And the things I made her!! Oh boy!! It didn't matter to her. She knew they contained love and were picked out just for her. She always displayed them so not very many survived until I was old enough to know they were gaudy/ugly little things. My brother is 10 years younger than me and I was his second momma. I still have things her made me when he was young and they mean the world to me. When he was a Sr in HS, he took a picture of my baby(Big Mac--half domestic cat/half wildcat and 26 lbs of pure muscle) to a lady who did ceramics and had her make me a replica.It is one of my prize possessions.

  3. Wow! What a great gift idea! Go Brother!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

30 Days of Christmas Day 9: A Pet Question

I Know, I Know!

The Cat Report--Travel