Sunday, November 27, 2005

Christmas Memories - A Lesson in Shopping

Onyx SerpentFire posted this on a forum the other day, and it was so meaningful I asked for permission to post it here.

This came up in another group I am on. The below text was in response to a woman who was wondering at what time does it become "okay" to cut down on the shopping and focus on other things for the Holidays... I had something happen in my family a few years back that put all of us back into perspective......with no further ado... here is my reply.

A few years ago (after my Grandmother passed away) we had our first Christmas without her. It was sad. Joey was only 5 years old. (ok, it was more than a few years ago - he is now 14 years old).

We all overcompensated with presents for each other, and with Joey being the only nephew and only grandchild..well, you can see where this went... When we were all done opening gifts (at my Mother's house) we all sat there, and there was a collective emptiness. We are all usually pretty reasonable and buy enough, but seldom over-buy/over-spend. My Mother started crying, and said something like .... "That didn't help at all."

Even Joey was confused looking, because he was overwhelmed. He didn't know what to play with. It wasn't that he didn't love everything he got.. but he was sitting in heaps of giftwrap and boxes. I picked him up out of it and sat him on my lap with a book. I read it to him. It was a Santa book. He was happy and content and fell asleep then. (I am crying now thinking about all of this.)

My Mother then pulled out this recorder/tape player that had been boxed with the Christmas decorations. She had it under the tree and wanted to play the tape in it.. (Christmas Music with the Pan Flute.) She switched it on, and hit play. The tape had been in there from the year before. The pan flute played softly and for quite a few minutes ....Suddenly the tape started cutting out. Silence.. then we heard my Grandmother say.... "Merry Christmas!" We were all stunned, crying, scrambling to replay the tape... over and over we played it.

Then we remembered what had happened... the year before Joey had been messing with this tape player and kept hitting record. My Mom said she remembers him putting the microphone in front of people. He must have recorded my Grandmother the year before saying, "Merry Christmas!" However, no other voices were on the tape...

My Mother still has the tape. We play it every year after presents. It was that Christmas that we decided that overspending does not do anything but leave people empty.. and being together is what counts. We got a very special Christmas gift that year... hearing my Grandmother's voice. I still miss her awfully. Sorry this is so long. It needed to be told.

Shop carefully, and thoughtfully. It's quality and thought.. not quantity and flash.
Love, Onyx

We'd love to share your special memories of Christmas Past, either as a comment here, or you can Contact Us, and we'll try to post it for you. If you have a post about a special Christmas memory on your own blog, please share the link. We'd love to read it, too!

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Gem said...

That was so beautiful! We had several Christmases when I was a child that almost weren't due to my parent's financial situation. I never thought of us as poor, but then again I don't remember ever believing in Santa either. When the amount of gifts Santa brings is inversely proportional to the amount of times your mom says "We can't afford that.", you kind of figure it out. Anyway, one difficult Christmas, we might have gotten gifts from Mom and Dad, but they didn't have enough left over for the 3 of us girls to buy each other gifts. So without really talking about it, we each went into our own treasure trove and came up with something the other had coveted or often borrowed and giftwrapped. I don't remember what I got, but I remember giving one of my sisters a couple of my belts she really liked. At the time, we probably thought it was pretty lame, but looking back, it's one of the few Christmases I really remember.

Dirty Butter said...

The Christmas after one of our dear neighbors died, his widow gave my husband a small slab of marble, stained with coffee, that her DH had used at his desk. This gift was, and still is ... priceless!!

As a parent, I wonder if we have left any of these kinds of priceless memories for our children and grandchildren. I certainly hope so.

Onyx said...

Sometimes I google my name to see what's out there. I found this and had forgotten about it. I hope all is well with you. I always loved your blog! So glad to have found you again! Keep in touch!

Love, Onyx

Dirty Butter said...

You've made me cry again, Onyx!! But it's a good kind of crying, so for that I thank you. I'm glad to make connections with you again, too.