It’s raining buckets this morning and as I sit here in the pre-dawn hours with Christmas fast approaching a bit-o-nostalgia seeps through to my Souls.
Visions of Grandparents, real Christmas trees dripping with tinsel, draped in ropes made of popcorn hand-crafted by myself and my brothers, dozens and dozens of gingerbread Christmas cookies and images of Santa and his reindeer right alongside those of Baby Jesus in His humble manger danced through my head, much like the sugarplums in The Night Before Christmas.
Some years the bounty of gifts were plentiful and some years not.
Around the age of 10 or 11 I remember being told money was tight and my brother & I would only receive 1 gift. Somehow I knew the budget was $10 per kid.
Was I disappointed?
Not in the least! Apparently somewhere along the Holiday Line we’d been taught it wasn’t the gifts that made the Season, it was the combination of all it entailed.
For that I am eternally grateful.
My gift that year was a birthstone ring (which I still have) and as an added bonus a dime store handheld game where you shot bb’s through a series of mazes to earn points, kind of like a miniature pinball machine.
Not only were my expectations met, but exceeded because I got TWO gifts and not just the one I was promised.
It didn’t matter that it was a 10-cent item! It was a bonus!
Expectations are funny that way.
Either they set you up for disappointment or elevate you to breathtaking heights of giddy joy.
Funny thing is …. we are the master controllers of our own expectations.
We carry within us the Power to set ourselves up for mind-numbing disappointment or “shout from the rooftops” unbridled joy.
As parents, we also have the Power to set our children up before sending them down the expectation path. It seems like it should be so simple doesn’t it? Well, like most seemingly simple things…it’s NOT!
Like most parents, my parents did their best. Sometimes that worked out well ….. sometimes not so much.
But this morning as I sit here reflecting on Christmases Past the one instance that rises to the top of my memory pool is the “One Gift” Christmas and how Mom & Dad set the expectations at a level that didn’t lessen the Magic of Christmas but made it even brighter by making it seem as though that ONE gift was going to be SO special that it didn’t need to be accompanied by other gifts. It could stand on its own just fine.
Dad’s been gone 22 years this January.
Mom turns 80 years-old in January.
Thanks Dad for doing the best you could and for the good things you taught me, especially the lessons that came free of charge on that “One Gift” Christmas.
Mom, thanks for teaching me One Gift given with all your heart is priceless regardless of its price tag.
Wishing you all the blessings of a One Gift Christmas
May all your expectations lead to joyful outcomes
And may ALL your Christmases be Right and Bright