Recently, I posted a long list of gift ideas for little ones who love dinosaurs, and as I looked through it, I thought some of you might think you’d love to give some of those gifts to your kids this year.
But you can’t.
Money is tight. Maybe you’re out of work. Perhaps medical bills are piled up higher than presents.
I get it.
I grew up in a home that always went a little Christmas crazy. There were five girls, and Santa tended to act like they were the only five girls on earth. Seriously, it was Toys-R-Us in the living room come Christmas morning.
It was fun, but it was also a tough act to follow when times got tight.
Like the year my parents divorced.
My older sister and I were in college, but our younger sisters were still starry-eyed and watching the skies for any signs of Santa.
And my mother was wondering how on earth he was going to come at all, much less in the style we were accustomed to.
She was worn thin from months of worry, and all she wanted to do was create happy memories for her kids who were hurting.
And, she just didn’t have the money to spend on Christmas gifts.
But what she did was so much better…
She let us help with things for the little ones. I remember helping her get ready for Christmas morning, wrapping paper all over the dining room while we listened for little feet on the stairs. Those are some of my sweetest memories though they come from one of our most painful times.
She was honest with us. I knew that she had focused on our young ones, and I understood why.
She surprised us. Truly. She gave me two gifts that will always be some of my most treasured possessions.
I had no idea what to expect when I opened the two little boxes she had for me that Christmas morning. One held an olive-wood box from Jerusalem with a our birthstone on a cross. (Mom and I were both born in August.) I recognized it immediately. Her grandmother had brought it to her all the way from the Holy Land many years before. I didn’t know what to say, which only got worse when I opened the next box and found something I’d looked at with love since I was a little girl.
Every time I had visited my grandmother as a young girl, I had looked through her jewelry and she had told me about the bracelet I saw in the box that day. It was hand-painted with scenes of a love story on each piece, and my grandfather had given it to her on their wedding day. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
While those gifts cost my mom no money, they required the sacrifice of letting them go to someone she loved. She trembled when she showed them to me, and we both teared up. I’m tearing up now just remembering that Christmas morning.
And, that’s the thing I want you to know. I have vague recollections of the Christmas she searched the southeast for a red-haired Cabbage Patch Doll. I sort of recall a few other gifts along the way. But I will never forget what she gave me that day.
It was love, pure and simple.
And it fills your home better than toys ever could. After all, giving something dear to you is what Christmas is all about, right? I mean, we tend to cram Christmas full of dollar store stocking stuffers, but the gift-giving example of God is to give what means the most. It means to give ourselves like he gave his son.
There’s no price tag on that kind of gift because it is priceless.
And, no matter want they WANT, that’s what our children truly need.