Santa was good to my kids this year. They loved everything they got. The repaired laptop and refurbished laptop were big hits, as were the generous gifts from area charities. However...I had only 1 gift under the tree for me, so I saved it for last. I can't tell you how much of a let down it was to open it. It was a box chock full of toiletries. Now don't get me wrong, toiletries are much needed, especially when money is scarce...but seriously? A big box, gift wrapped with not 1 but 2 bows? Yes, there was an Old Navy gift card in there (I did do a happy dance over that...I love me some Old Navy pants!) But I have to say it was like the Christmas of 1968 all over again. The disappointment on my face was clearly evident. Of course my son thought it was hilarious. (Note to self...someone is getting a gag gift next year full of toiletry items.)
Here is my re-post from two years ago:
Christmas 1968, my Father had been in and out of the hospital with back problems. He had just had major back surgery. Back then it was a very big deal, he was in the hospital at least a month. My Mother didn’t drive, but she dutifully took 3 buses each way to visit him daily while we were at school. On her half a mile walk home from the bus stop she would stop at the grocery store and purchase just what she could carry and what she could afford.
My Mother didn’t work outside the home, so we had to live on my Father’s small disability check. We were forewarned not to expect much for Christmas. I’m not sure if it was my Mother’s not so subtle way of letting us know that year was different, or maybe she was so tired from her bus travel, but my Mother didn’t put up the 7 foot artificial tree. That year we had a 4 foot silver aluminum tree that my mother put on the drum table in the picture window. It was truly a hideous tree and it forever marked a very different Christmas for us.
One night a few days before Christmas our front doorbell rang. My Father was still in the hospital and my Mother wondered who on earth could be ringing our bell after dinnertime on a cold snowy night. My Mother didn’t want to open the door, but I kept imploring that she HAD to open it because as I peeked through the picture window I saw it was Santa Claus! She finally did open the door, but wouldn’t let Santa in the house. He left 2 very large boxes on our front porch. Each box was 3 foot square, about 10 inches tall. One box was full of all kinds of food. There was cereal, flour, sugar, roasts, chickens, pasta and all sorts of canned goods. The other box had candy canes, chocolates, some clothing, hats, scarfs and mittens, and some coloring books. My Mother, proud as she was, kept calling back to Santa to take back the boxes, but he waved her off and disappeared into the night.
That Christmas was very lean. It was the year my sister and I got our first Monopoly game and Mini-Mod dolls instead of Barbies. At the time we were both a bit disheartened by the lack of Christmas loot, but as the years have passed I have to say that it was the one of the most memorable Christmases of my life. I was 7 years old and Santa came to my house and made my Mother cry. I don’t think I’d ever seen her cry before that. All that food helped us get by until my Father was able to go back to work. It was truly a Blessing.
We later found out that Santa was the brother-in-law of my parent’s neighbors, Tim and Terry. They said they had gone door to door and collected money from the neighbors and purchased all of those items. Terry knew my mother wasn’t going to ask for help and she knew she wouldn’t accept charity from her neighbors. A heartfelt note from Terry in one of the boxes told my Mother it was alright, it didn’t mean she owed anyone anything. It didn’t mean she was weak. It meant she was cared about. It meant she was loved.
We were to spend Christmas with my gf's family, but she got terribly sick last night. Flu or food poisoning...not sure...but definitely nasty and surely bad timing. We will be heading out to Anastasia's Mom's house shortly. I have no doubt that it will be very uncomfortable, but I will be sucking it up for my kids because they are so looking forward to it.
I hope all of my readers had a wonderful Christmas and a great time with their families.
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