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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: A Gift You Can Re-Gift
By Ed Williams


Up until this year we have gotten off pretty easy at Christmas. Our son has been too young to realize all the “ ins” and “outs” of the season. Like what’s a “wish list” and how to go about getting one. At the tender age of four, we were pretty confident that we had a few more years left before he’d come out with a “list.”

But, one morning in August came the shock of my ears, “Mommy, what am I getting for Christmas this year?”

I choked on my coffee and said, “Wh--ere did that come from?”

Mom clarified that marketing machine had gotten hold of my boy via a Christmas catalogue that came in the mail. He had been looking at all the toys putting check marks by the things he wanted. (He could have saved time by simply Xing out the ones he didn’t want.) We were proud of his mastering the crayon and making check marks, but was he serious that he wanted every toy in there?

Later, we were in the basement on an adventure when he came across some Christmas decorations. Among them our Advent calendar.

“Daddy, look. Let’s play this game.” He said.

“It’s not a game,” I mumbled, still stung from the earlier remark about his Christmas present—it’s August!

“But I like this game,” he insisted.

“Well, I like it too, but it’s not time for this game yet. After Thanksgiving we will get this out t like last year.” I assured him.

“Oookay,” he said with clear disappointment. “I can’t wait for Christmas.”

It has become a favorite tradition in his short life. The metal Nativity scene, encased by a wooden frame, provides a home to 24 gifts that get revealed each night as we read a little of the Christmas story. The real excitement comes when he gets to rustle the paper that conceals each door’s occupant.

Every night we add a star, an animal, or some other magnetic figure. The crescendo of course is when we get to place baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve. (We usually have to sneak a peek at baby Jesus before Christmas Eve.)

Although we enjoy giving others gifts a Christmas. The problem with shopping for children is that they have so much already. Everybody likes to buy for the younger ones. We often end up returning duplicate gifts from aunts and uncles etc… or, dare I say, re-gift it to some other kid!

It seems impossible to preserve the real Giftof Christmas; Jesus. I hope that the message conveyed in that Advent calendar is always the focus of Christmas for him, because Jesus is the one gift you won’t have to return, won’t be disappointed with, won’t already have one of, and --- re-gifting is okay.

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This article has been read 405 times
Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons11/23/08
Nice story, a few typos here and there but good content. Although I am not familiar with the tradition of giving 24 gifts before Christmas, I can see why a child would anticipate that. I have been absent from this site for a few months and I see nothing has changed. Your piece has been read 32 times yet no one left a comment. I wonder what is the point. Are we're here for constructive critique from our peers or just writing to be writing?
Sharon Kane11/26/08
Excellent portrayal of the anxiety faced by parents as Christmas gets more and more commercialised. Our boys are spaced 3 years apart, and I confess to hiding away the baby toys when one child is done with them, and re-gifting them to the next child, who sees them as brand new! Gets trickier as they grow older unfortunately. I wonder if your piece could be strengthened by giving the readers some ideas as to HOW to 'give' Jesus at Christmas time?