Sharon: Welcome, Linda! Have a seat in front of the fireplace and take the chill out. Oliver pours tea, winking to Linda as he continues humming Let it snow.
Sharon: And while we sip on our tea and sample Oliver’s oven-fresh sugar cookies, Linda has a beautiful Christmas story to share with us.
With the backdrop of snowflakes swirling down on the bristly pine needles, Linda tells us her beautiful Christmas story.
My Best Christmas Present
As my children grew older, the Christmas season gradually became a marathon I began running right after Halloween. There were school and church functions, family gatherings, a house to decorate, festive food to prepare and shopping for gifts. No longer believing in Santa, the “want list” included specific brand names, colors and whatever the current fads were. (these sometimes changed after the requested items were bought.)
Gift buying had become so complicated that I was designated to shop for my children’s gifts from my parents and grandmother as well as my husband and self. One Christmas Eve, my daughter stood empty handed outside the last department store on the block. She had asked for clothes this year and after searching all afternoon, still hadn’t found what she wanted.
“You have to buy something,” I said desperately. “We have to spend Grandmother’s gift money.”
“I didn’t see anything I want.” She looked near tears. “I can buy something later.”
“No, you can’t,” I raised my voice. “We have to put something under the tree.”
“Well, I’m not buying something I don’t want,” she shot back. “That is not what Christmas is all about. This is Christ’s birthday, not mine.”
We stood a moment in the cold wind, glaring at each other, and I suddenly realized the truth of what my daughter had said. I put an arm around her.
“Okay, let’s go home.”
I don’t remember how we explained to my mother the lack of a tangible gift under the tree. But I do remember that on the way home we discussed the way we would handle Christmases from this time forward. There would be no more marathon shopping sprees or pressure to spend money just to satisfy the gift-giving syndrome the merchants would have us think exemplifies the spirit of Christmas.
We decided to introduce our plan now for the following year and give the grandparents time to get used to the idea. Feeling no gifts would be unacceptable, we suggested a token gift exchange, with each family member buying for the others. Since little money would be involved, a bad choice would not be disastrous. And each person would have a special celebration on his or her own birthday with larger gifts if they chose.
Even with prior notice, it was not an easy transition for them. As the next holiday season approached, they began talking of the usual large gifts. My daughter and I gently reminded them of the new rules and encouraged them to go shopping early. And me? I wandered through the stores, watching those harried mothers rushing about, arms loaded with packages. And I wanted to stop them and remind them that this was not what Christmas was all about. It had taken a stubborn teen-age daughter to teach me the lesson and in so doing, she gave me the best Christmas gift I ever had. And to this day, every season, I enjoy her gift again.
Sharon: That is a very beautiful and heart-warming story, Linda. And you have a special author’s note you would like to add. Please tell us.
Linda: My daughter continued to grow into a beautiful spiritual woman who blesses the lives of her family and others and still teaches me lessons today. Not surprisingly, she now has a website called More Blessed Than Stressed
I invite you to visit the link below to meet her:
Sharon: That’s beautiful, Linda. I will be sure to pay your daughter’s website a visit. Thank you for sharing and for reminding us about the true meaning of Christmas. I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Oliver, a tear in his eye, packs a box of sugar cookies for Linda for teaching him a lesson. He bids her farewell, but not without stealing a kiss under the mistletoe!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She
has been writing since she was ten and is an award winning author of published poetry,
articles, short stories, and a TV play. Her first two books were published by Kensington.
In addition to her holiday e-book, Let Nothing You Dismay, Linda also has Circle
of Love available as an e-book and in print from The Wild Rose Press.
Linda's Awe-Struck Publishing books include Single Status, available as an e-book
and in print. Another holiday book, The 12 Days of Christmas, will be released in
December and her first published historical in 2010.