Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Gifts

The kids and I have been having some Christmas fun. We've decorated the tree (Monday), baked Christmas cookies (today) and finished our family ornaments (except for gluing on the ribbons, which I'll do myself...maybe even tonight!). The Jesse Tree is languishing, but the Advent Wreath and two Advent calendars are getting some use, which is the most fun for the kids. Now I'm contemplating just doing the Jesse Tree readings by myself as I think it might be good Advent preparation for me.

Anyway, I will probably post some pictures of our toddler-decorated tree (pretty much all the ornaments are on one of five branches at the bottom) and the cookie decorating they did today (actually quite good, though how can you go wrong with M&Ms on sugar cookies with homemade icing?), but I'm feeling a little too lazy to swap chairs with Kansas Dad and turn on the other computer (where all the pictures live) so instead I'll write about something that's been on my mind...the best Christmas gifts ever.

Here are my top three Christmas gifts (in no particular order):

1. My keyboard. I haven't played it in years (though the kids like it), but of all my childhood gifts, it was my most cherished. I was in junior high. A keyboard was all I wanted and I was devastated on Christmas morning when there was no big rectangular box with my name on it. I've always thought of myself as an intelligent gal, but I was concentrating so hard on not crying I didn't even think to ask myself why I was opening gifts like a monster pack of size D batteries or some weird electrical plug. Yeah, you guessed it, the keyboard was in another room. I loved it. There's a good chance I'll never get rid of that keyboard, just for the memory of that Christmas. (It's good for my ego, too, to remember how I completely failed to realize what my parent's had done.)

2. My most beloved Christmas CD. For me, the Christmas season didn't really begin until Anne Murray's Christmas Wishes graced our stereo. At some point, I bought the CD for my parents to replace their tape (or was it a record?...oh my). Well, after I got married and had a home of my own, I tried to find the CD and found to my shock and dismay, Anne Murray had a new Christmas CD out and I couldn't buy the old one. The new one just wouldn't do; it wasn't Anne Murray I wanted, it was the Christmas music of my childhood. A couple of years ago, I received it as a gift from my parents. They'd wrapped up and given me their own copy, just because it meant so much to me. I still love it. I've been listening to it all day.

3. A waffle iron. Kansas Dad loves a hot breakfast. He bought this waffle iron for me because I like waffles more than pancakes, but that's not what puts it on this list (though it was thoughtful of him). No, what puts it on this list is that we ate waffles about once a week for at least a year after I opened this gift one Christmas...and I never ever made them myself. In fact, years and years later, I still have never used this waffle iron. This, gentlemen, is the only kind of kitchen appliance gift allowed for your wives (other than something expressly requested).

I've gotten plenty of good gifts in my day, but these are my three favorites. (Unless we count First Son, who was born exactly two weeks before Christmas five years ago.)


  1. It was your waffles served up with with homemade berry sauce in New York that inspired me to purchase my own waffle maker, and some time later, one for my mom. Good memories.

  2. I remember that visit. We drove out to see the ocean even though it was February and darn cold!

    Sigh. We almost never make that strawberry syrup anymore because the kids eat the strawberries too quickly.

  3. I really liked this post. Wonderful stories and memories.

  4. Tiffany, I'm glad you liked it. I just reread it and am a little dissatisfied. I really meant to better convey how these three gifts really touched me: a childhood memory of getting exactly what I most desired, the CD my parents gave that couldn't be bought (and couldn't be replaced), and Kansas Dad's sacrifice to serve waffles when he'd like pancakes, and to go to the extra effort to make them for me each week. I'd really like to try to find these kinds of gifts for my children each birthday and Christmas - ones that show how much they are loved. I think it's often much harder (though it can be less expensive) to do that than to just buy the most popular toys.


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