Time for a Change
and I had been out of graduate school a couple of years when we could finally afford the Christmas gifts that our little girls really wanted. We told them they could make a list and let them look through some advertisements. But soon they were overcome by the commercialism of the season.
I found myself longing for those simple Christmases centered on family as the girls fretted more and more about what they wanted. It was time to do something about it, so Donna and I found a struggling family who had children who were the same ages as our girls.
“This year,” I told my daughters, “we are going to give Christmas away. You will still get to choose some things, but they will be for a child your age who has greater needs than you.”
I was surprised at the eagerness my daughters showed for this. They spent even more time happily picking out presents: clothes, a nice coat and two toys. Donna and I bought warm clothes for the parents and a full Christmas dinner. We added a box of oranges and baskets of fruit and cookies.
MY WIFE, DONNA,
On Christmas Eve, we loaded everything into our car and drove to the family’s apartment. Donna played Santa and took everything to the front door in three trips. We had our car windows open, and our little girls were listening intently. When they heard Donna’s loud knocking on the door and then her feet pounding down the stairs, they squealed with excitement. We heard a young woman’s voice call out, “Thank you.” Donna and our girls yelled back, “You’re welcome!” The next day we opened our few presents, played card games, built a snowman and went sledding. In the evening, I read stories to my daughters. We talked about how the Christmas season is about love, friends and family, just as it was two millennia ago when a baby became the newest member of a special family.
As we finished the stories, my daughters snuggled up in my arms. My oldest girl broke the silence. “Daddy, I want to give away Christmas again next year.” I replied, “Me, too.” St. Anthony, Idaho