I will never know where my mom’s family tradition of the first person up on Christmas morning calling out, “Christmas gift!” came from- she didn’t know, either. I loved being the first one up so that I could race to Mom’s room and say it to her. Then I would call my Aunt Sara and she would answer the phone with “Christmas gift!”, and we would dissolve into laughter. Those precious traditions passed down through the generations. Dan and I do it now, and though we don’t have children to pass it onto, we still laugh and enjoy the simple words and the memories they bring.
With Mom gone, those words make me think of her creativity and generosity in gift-giving. Even on her death bed, she was instructing me to make sure that presents that had been squirreled away in her mahogany chest got to the people they were intended for. She really got into the spirit of finding the perfect meaningful gift for loved ones- even when she didn’t have a penny to her name, she somehow found a way. How grateful I am for the example she set, as well as the many wonderful memories of special Christmas mornings that she gave to me.
A few weeks ago, my best friend Diane asked me to send her some favorite photos of Mom and of Mom and I together. I had no idea what she was going to do with them, but I found out a few days ago when a large package arrived from her. I burst into tears when I opened it and realized what it was- a beautiful fleece blanket covered in the photos I had sent. She wrote to me that now when I missed Mom, I could wrap myself in this blanket and feel wrapped in her love. With all that my dear friend has gone through battling breast cancer, she took the time and effort to think of me and come up with the most perfect gift that I will treasure always. Diane has Mom’s talent- listening, watching, knowing what would really touch someone’s heart, and finding creative ways to make it happen. The true spirit of gift-giving. I am so blessed to have Diane in my life. I cherish our thirty-year friendship with this woman who is truly my sister.
Diane, thank you for this Christmas gift, from the bottom of my heart. As I sit by the fire wrapped in this blanket, I will be wrapped in Mom’s love…and also in yours.