Best gift was hand-me-down


(12/28/2008)

by Frances Edstrom

We had a delightful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gathered with our little family. Especially wonderful was watching our granddaughter’s reaction to the lighted and decorated trees, the festive meals, actual candy in bowls around the house, and the gifts she received from all the adults, who couldn’t help themselves when it came to buying things for a two-year-old.

On Christmas Eve we went to services at the Congregational Church, where Nick and Nan Edstrom were performing with the choir. It was hard for the two-year-old to use her “whisper voice” for a whole hour, but there was no kicking and screaming. (I remember some of that from my years past.) From there we went back to Morgan and Dan’s for too much wonderful food.

Christmas, we all gathered at our house, where Santa had also made a stop, and aunts and great-grandma brought gifts. Peyton loved everything. But her mother, Morgan, warned us to enjoy the feeling, because she’s not guaranteeing that next year at age three, our little darling will be so undiscriminating and her love of gifts so all-encompassing.

When Peyton undid the wrapping on one of her gifts, it revealed a box that made us think it had been mistagged. But inside the unusual box was a pretty outfit. It reminded me of the first Christmas that daughter Cassidy was able to understand that the gifts she was unwrapping were actually meant for her. When she tore the wrapping from a present from my mother, she was left holding a saltines box.

“I like crackers,” she said gamely. It wasn’t crackers at all, but a stuffed animal my mother had crocheted and packed in the cracker box to mail. Her little face lit up, relieved, I’m sure, not to be getting crackers for Christmas.

Peyton was so taken with the first gift she saw that Santa left, unwrapped near the tree, that she left a couple others unopened. We decided that was fine. They could wait. She spent a long, long time with the pink plastic vanity with its own stool, a swivel mirror, complete with accessories — toy hair dryer, lipstick, hairbrush. She didn’t care that it was a hand-me-down from Dana at the office. Peyton couldn’t have loved it more. Another favorite gift was a stuffed kitty from my sister, which she spent much of her energy protecting from any one of the three dogs in the house.

When Cassidy opened a gift of cookbooks with bright covers, Peyton thought briefly that she wanted those, too. But after examining the inside pages and finding that the bright illustrations didn’t extend to them, she was glad to give them back to Cassidy.

At the end of the evening, Nan was whisked away ahead of the storm to catch a plane to Colorado (hoping it wouldn’t be delayed), Great-grandma Jo was given a ride home, Peyton went down for a long winter’s nap, and the rest of us sat around in the glow from the tree lights catching up and enjoying the love of family.

But I still don’t understand why God made Christmas come in the wintertime. He must be testing me.

 

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