The Perfect Gift


Dear Fellow Journalers,

The following is a post from Mary Beth. She has promised to write more in the new year. Enjoy!


The Perfect Gift

     “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”. The year of unemployment started out with the news that we were expecting a baby girl later that year. The year ended with my husband’s job being downsized.

     Upon reflection, I discovered that the human spirit is more resilient than we give it credit for. We adjusted our lives to welcome our new daughter and hoped and prayed for a new opportunity. I knew then, as I know now, that God only gives us problems that we can handle and when we can’t stand the”heat” any longer, He sends us laughter and warmth of friends, beauty to behold and the love of family.

     That fall,  we had an inkling that things weren’t going so well for the company so we analyzed our financials and decided that we’d have an old-fashioned Christmas. Our children caught the idea and ran with it!  “T” and my husband found dollar-store battery-powered tea lights which we used for our windows to save our electricity bills. My Mom and Dad came for a visit and while providing much-needed rest for me, shared their culinary and construction talents with the rest of the clan. My girls learned how to make Gingerbread houses and little Gingerbread men while my boys made a doll house for their sisters.

     While picking up the house one Saturday early in December, I chanced to hear a fleeting, whispered conversation among my children. “That would be the perfect gift!”  one of them exclaimed.  “How much money do you have?” another one asked. I almost walked in on them, until I heard “we’re trying to save money, remember? We’ll have to make it ourselves.” There was silence for a beat of a second and then one of them said the magic words “I bet Grandpa will help>”  Hmmmmm.

     The mystery of the Perfect Gift was whispered about for some days and then silence. My husband and I decided to wait and see what they had in mind. Anticipation grew until Christmas finally arrived on a snowy Wednesday morning.

     Our usual custom was to wake everyone (although usually everyone was awake already), up at 8 am and exchange one present before breakfast, get dressed and go to Church. But that year, we bundled everyone up and went to Midnight Mass. We were impressed that all of the children were reverent and well-behaved. They did sing along with the choir though, even if a little off-key. Afterwards, we traveled through our town and admired the brightly lit houses and office buildings and of course, the town tree. It was a peaceful and joyous start to our Christmas.

     The next morning, our children surprised us with breakfast in bed along with a tape of their singing various holiday songs. The Perfect Gift turned out to be a scrapbook nestled in its own decorated wooden box. The children had contacted all our relatives and received pictures of our childhood  Christmas’ which they had put on sticker laden-ed pages.

     The best part of that Christmas was the love and caring and sharing of our family members. While we have had several Christmas celebrations since, the cherished memory of the Perfect Gift Christmas remains as the best Christmas ever.

May the love and joy of the season be yours! Thanks for all your kind words.

~Mary Beth


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