It was December 1966. Christmas was fast approaching. Two small farm girls were beginning to learn what the season was about. “You know what,” Debbie said to me, “wouldn’t it be nice if we could buy a present for Mom?” Of course, I thought it was a good idea, but we girls didn’t have any money. We did chores, but we didn’t earn money for them. They were a standard requirement. “How would we pay for it?” I asked. I truly liked the idea, but I couldn’t see how we could make it happen. Nevertheless, we sat on the floor of our upstairs bedroom, daydreaming of a gift for Mom. Though we girls were penniless, the dreaming was enjoyable.
Several days passed. During breakfast, one of us couldn’t hold out on a secret dream and blurted out, “We wanted to buy you a present for Christmas, but we don’t have any money.” And it was true. The desire was there, but the funds weren’t.
During the discussion that took place, Mom saw our genuine need to “give” this year and set up a plan to proceed with our grand idea. We would select an item from the catalog, and Debbie being old enough now, could call in the order, thereby keeping the item we would select a secret.
That afternoon, we two girls sat on the hardwood floor of our upstairs bedroom with our budget in mind and turned the catalog pages back and forth a hundred times. Finally, we decided upon a sewing box. It was a lovely blue wicker box with a matching handle. The inside was lined with baby blue silk fabric. The outside of the lid had small blue flowers underneath a cellophane top, and the inside of the lid’s underside was tufted for pin needles and a unique tab to hold her thimble. It was eight inches deep with a removable plastic tray for thread and needles and such. We knew it would be perfect!
Soon after our selection was made, my sister made the call following Mom’s instruction on placing a catalog order over the phone while I stood next to her to make sure she was doing it as instructed. It was so exciting to think our dream was coming true, and we would surprise Mom with a special gift from her girls.
When the package came, we ran with it upstairs like two squirrels fighting over a nut. From the cardboard box, we pulled the most exquisite sewing box. It was stunning. After we admired it and expressed our love for it to one another, we went on to wrap it with pretty paper. Sister Debbie taught me what she had learned already about wrapping, “Fold the ends like this and square them. Try to make it look pretty before you tape it,” she fussed. The ribbon was always added around the gift in both directions, with a finger placed in the middle of her trying to snug it up. A bow placed on top covered where the ribbon was tied. Then Debbie wrote on a name tag: To Mom From Debbie and Sherry. I admired her lovely penmanship. This was standard wrapping procedure for every gift at our house. (There weren’t any gift bags back then.)
Of course, we could hardly wait for Christmas morning to see Mom’s eyes when she opened her sewing box. I assure you she did not disappoint us with her surprised look. And it was a surprise she had to look forward to since its inception. That year a pair of sisters learned the true value of giving, the utmost reason for the season. Wouldn’t you agree?
So Here’s the Thing…There are many things we can teach our children, and this is one of them. Finance the operation; give them a few bucks to buy for “someone else” for there is, indeed, a lesson to be learned this time of year, not just to receive but the value in giving.