What do you want for Christmas? It's a common question to ask children and they usually have a ready answer. My son once told Santa, "You get to bring me a red fire truck!" And, of course, Santa came through. Who would want to mess up that kind of enthusiasm?
Childhood gifts become treasured memories for adults. There are the longed for things like dolls, trucks, or something the child has seen in a store or on TV. My children nearly wore out the toy advertisements that came stuffed inside the newspaper around Thanksgiving. Today I recall two gifts from my childhood.
The first gift was a set of colored pencils. These days every child has colored pencils in their school desk. When I was young they were a luxury. My dad had a set that he kept in his desk at home and I remember how much I enjoyed sitting and drawing with those pencils.
He and Mom must have noticed. When Christmas came around one year there was a set in a plastic case that was my very own. I took it to school and filled a notebook with impossibly complicated and extremely colorful sketches of dresses that I hoped to make for myself when I was "bigger." I also drew floor plans and sketches of houses and furniture. I realized for the first time that I could draw. Classmates noticed my hobby and soon there were others who brought colored pencils and began to draw fashion and dreams. No one turned into a great artist, but we had a great time. That box of colored pencils changed my life.
When I was little my uncle called me CandyJane. When it comes to candy, I love it all. That is why my outstanding birthday gift is a case of Hershey bars. I think that I was about eleven when I opened it. I thought it was a Hershey bar box that contained something else. It was too heavy for clothes. When I lifted the top off the box it was full of candy bars. Because they were my very own, I saved them and ate them sparingly over the next year. I shared them occasionally, but kept them hidden. There was not too much temptation to over indulge and no brotherly thievery. I hoped there would be another box exactly like it on my next birthday. That didn't happen, definitely a good thing, and life went on. But there it is locked in my memory.
When you buy gifts in the weeks ahead remember this: It is okay to keep it simple.