Gifts vs. Presents or: How to Find the Joy in Building Forts Out of Cardboard Boxes

There has been a catalog deluge at our house. Big, glossy catalogs full of gloves and toys, and speakers. We got four just today.

The paper (yes, we still get a paper paper–we are old school) promises to be fifteen pounds on Wednesday and Thursday. Fat with ads so the teaming masses can plan to trample one another in pursuit of the joy of Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but if you threatened my life I couldn’t tell you a single present I got two years ago. I can however wax poetic about the time my Dad and Uncle took to a steep embankment of snow with a toboggan and all the kids and grown-ups road into the parking lot below until our fingers were numb and our faces hurt with laughter. I can tell you in detail what it was like to hold my Mom’s had in the Santa line at AM&As. How impressed I was as my boyfriend McGyvered a star onto my little potted Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I can tell you about late-night Christmas cookie baking with a friend that resulted in laughing so hard I collapsed on the floor holding the cookie sheet (which made us laugh more).  In fact, this blog has been, and will continue to be, peppered with the moments that have meant Christmas to me. And only one has to do with a present. All of those moments and memories were gifts I still hold close to my heart.

As the insidious Black Friday draws ever nearer, keep that in your mind. You remember the moment, not the presents. Drive around and see the lights together. Take along walk in the snow together. Hold a little hand and get lost in gingerbread, or ice skates, or stories. Take your Mom to see Santa this time. Laugh. Let your brother take all of your money playing Left Right Center (or is that just my brother?). Memories last longer than presents do–plus you don’t have to go to the mall.

PS–My friend Jen found this clip from Christella Morris (crawltheline.com) and passed it on. Thanks, Jen.

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