My mom called me last week to see what I want for Christmas.
When asked that question, I instinctively think, “What do I need?”
Then nothing comes to mind.
I don’t need anything.
But what do you want? Mom asked.
Doug’s Dad says you should never buy people what they need.
Instead, he believes you should give impractical, unexpected gifts.
(Note: This comes from a man who also believes you should fall asleep every night savoring a piece of milk chocolate because “There’s nothing like sleeping with your throat coated in chocolate.” He also has false teeth, so take that into consideration before following his advice.)
So, what do I want for Christmas that I don’t need?
I couldn’t think of anything I wanted that could be presented to me in a box on Christmas morning.
I decided I wanted my Mom to buy a beautiful wreath and place it on my Dad’s grave with a note that said, “Merry Christmas, Dad. Thanks for teaching me the joy of giving.”
She resisted, saying that wasn’t a “real” gift for me.
And, I believe, somehow, my Dad will know it’s there, and he will appreciate it.
When I was a little girl, my Dad was the Jaycee president.
I thought he was famous because everybody in town knew him and he always seemed to have his picture in the paper.
He also managed to orchestrate the most amazing, magical arrival of Santa Claus I’ve ever seen.
He had him land in the middle of town in a helicopter!
One night before Christmas, Dad came home and gathered our family around the kitchen table and told us about the Sub for Santa program.
He had a piece of paper with the name of a family on it and listed the gender and age of all the children and what they wanted for Christmas.
“We need to help Santa this year because this family can’t afford Christmas gifts.”
I will never forget the feeling I had that night as I listened to him tell us about that family.
I loved the idea that we could secretly help Santa Claus and make another family happy.
We all excitedly talked about how we could help.
I went into my room and found a brand new doll.
I wondered why I never played with her.
I decided it was because she needed to be saved for another little girl who might need her more than I did.
I ran back downstairs and showed her to my Dad. He agreed that maybe I’d saved her because someone else needed to have her more than me.
He showed me the little girl’s wish list and said she was my age.
He asked if I could go shopping with my mom to get the other gifts she wanted.
I couldn’t wait. The idea of helping Santa made me want to burst with excitement.
Sub for Santa became a tradition in our family, and one way or another; we always found ways of giving to others.
The first thing my Dad did on Christmas morning was make secret deliveries to people in town who said were “down on their luck.”
We waited for him to come home and then ran into the living room to see what Santa left for us.
My parents taught me that the best gifts are often the good feelings that come from our own giving and not just from the gifts we receive.
I’m happy my Mom agreed to my Christmas request and delivered the wreath and a note on my Dad’s grave.
That is a true gift to me.
And proof that the best gifts don’t always come in a box.