Holiday Memories: The joy of giving

I am one of eight children. This particular memory is from a time when five of us children were still living at home.

As a small child, I had no income of my own, but one year I decided I really wanted to buy my parents a Christmas present without them giving me the money to buy it. So for months I saved every penny and nickel I could find on the street or get by redeeming pop bottles.

By the time Christmas came, I'd saved enough to buy my mom a pair of fuzzy slippers and my dad a fake-leather belt. When we gathered around the tree, my dad handed out the few presents that were under the tree that year.

I remember looking with such pride and joy and mom and dad opened the gifts I had given them.

I remember like it was yesterday watching my dad start to cry after he opened my gift to him. My mom asked why he was crying and he responded that he felt so bad that they had been unable to guy gifts for us children. That was the first moment that I realized that I had not received a gift.

I had not known that it had been a very bad year financially for my parents, and we were barely getting by paying the necessary bills. Christmas presents were something they just could not afford that year.

But I had gotten so much joy from giving my parents those gifts that I did not even care that I had not received a gift myself.

Things got much better financially in later years, but that year when I received no present at all has always been my favorite Christmas memory.


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