The Gift

by Bella Rum

I’ve been so busy that I’ve only given Christmas a cursory glance. I’ve had no time for the little things that bring the holidays to life. I did manage to decorate a tiny tree for Dad. And The Husband did hang a wreath over the mantle, and then there’s the one on the front door. That’s it.

I’ve done the most minimal Christmas shopping I’ve ever done. When my son and his wife came down for a visit last month, I took them shopping, and bought some things for my granddaughter and the baby – soon to arrive. Other than that, I’ve only gotten a few things for Dad to give to The Brother’s granddaughters. He loves them so and they will be here at Christmas. Of course, I got something for Dad.

I’m just fine with this new found freedom from rushing around and spending endless dollars in an effort to make sure retailers have a “good” year. Sometimes I feel that it would be easier to just walk into the store, open my wallet and say, “Here, get it over with, take what you want.” I’ve long been weary of buying gifts that are seldom needed, and often not the heart’s desire of the one to whom I’m giving them. Don’t we all say this and yet….

So, last year and this one too, I’ve had so many other things on my plate that I’ve been forced to let a lot of things go, things that used to seem very important – mostly the shopping. Before you think I’m a total humbug, I’ll tell you what I love about the holidays.

I love the music, as corny as that may seem. (Becca, I’m laughing now because I know this is far from your favorite.) When I hear Silver Bells I remember our City in the 1950’s with big red bells on each lamp post, and lights strung across each intersection. It was magical. I also love the Christmas cards. I love sending them and receiving them. I actually have one childhood friend that I haven’t seen since 1968; yet we always send one another a Christmas card. It’s the last thread that connects us.

That brings me to my most favorite Christmas joy. I do love finding or creating that one gift that always seems to be the perfect treasure for one particular person. It never fails that I buy gift after gift which may or may not be received with glee, but there’s usually that one gift that I know will be a home run. This year that gift goes to The Brother.

Weeks ago, I culled through all of our old photos. I found photos from seventy years ago, photos of Dad on his motorcycle when he was 21, photos of Dad and Mom, in dressy clothes, standing on the church steps at a friend’s wedding, photos of the brother and myself, all dressed up for Easter Sunday and on and on. Then I went through all the photos I’ve taken of Dad and our family this past year. I organized all of them in a beautiful photo album.

My favorite was the one that I found of my sister who died a few months ago and The Brother. They were standing on the pier, both sporting big grins, and obviously filled with love for one another. It was the last time she seemed happy and healthy. I know The Brother will love this gift. He will love it more than any gift he receives, and I will love being the one who gives it to him.