My Most Precious Christmas MemoryDec 23, 2022
Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
But let’s be honest it can also be extremely stressful and ridiculously expensive.
Let’s cut the crap here, we all live in a capitalist, materialistic world where we’re told things amount to happiness.
And I am no exception.
I’d love to sit outside of my ego and tell you that I am so enlightened that I have no need for material possessions and find my worthiness from within at all times but I’d be a massive whopping liar. I’m a product of my environment and unashamedly human, just like you.
Yes friend, I too am manipulated into spending more than I need to at Christmas on gifts for those I love because when it comes down to it, I assume that the more shit there is to unwrap, the more love I communicate and therefore receive.
Thankfully, amongst all of this materialistic noise, my sisters and I were once taught a lesson that remains one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received.
Whenever the frenzy of buying and wrapping and giving gets too much, I come back to this Christmas memory and hope that in sharing it with you dear reader, you too will be reminded that no one in your immediate family or extended friendship group needs another scented candle from Target to be assured of your love for them. Shall we?
Christmas was a big deal in my childhood home and Father Christmas came religiously, way past his recommended rate of attendance.
My favourite visit was his last, because he brought with him a teaching that will be with me forever and one I endeavour to hand down to my nieces and nephews.
I was 20 years old and my eldest sister was to be married the following year. My parents (in cahoots with Father Christmas) decided that this was a sign that Santa’s annual visits to us were at an end.
So, in December of 2001, my sisters and I gathered at my parents’ house for one final stocking.
Christmas morning arrived, and my Mother’s voice rang throughout the house.
ME AND MY SISTERS OPENING OUR CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS IN OUR PARENTS ROOM, CIRCA 1987. THAT HAIR. THOSE JUMPERS. WE WERE SO COOL.
“Has he been? Has he been?”
Three (pretty hung over) sisters traipsed down stairs to find three seemingly empty stockings hanging in front of the fire. In fact, the only full ones belonged to my (now) brother-in-laws!
All Christmas cheer flew out the window, and we raced to my parents to demand an explanation.
Upon closer inspection, there was of course a gift inside each of our stockings.
We dug deep and pulled out a card from an aid charity telling us we had… Goats!
One for each of us, named with our respective nicknames, Pudding, Flops and Bod (I’m Bod. It’s a long story!)
Pudding, Flops and Bod (the goats) had been bequeathed to families in developing countries to provide milk for them in times of hardship.
And then there was the poem.
My family loves a good poem and every year Father Christmas would leave us one. We adored them and they became as exciting as the gifts themselves.
In his last ever poem, Father Christmas marvelled at how we’d grown and how he’d miss visiting us. And then in perfect iambic pentameter he explained that this year he’d given us gifts in the true spirit of Christmas. Gifts that were far more precious than our standard stocking fillers, gifts that would enrich the lives of others, gifts that reflected the women we had become.
ACTUAL COPY OF ONE OF THE VERSES FROM THE LAST POEM FATHER CHRISTMAS LEFT US!
That year, as I read the poem aloud, tears streaming down all our faces, I learnt that to give to those in need is a gift in itself.
We don’t need ‘stuff’ to be shown love.
Love is expressed through our contribution to the lives of others.
Love is a formidable force, invisible and unmeasurable yet so powerful in its ability to create joy far greater than any material possession can provide.
And now I pass on this Christmas gift from my parents (I mean Santa!).
Every Christmas morning my nieces and nephews open one gift each from me instead of seven. Then I give them each some money to donate to a charity of their choice which we do online together on Christmas day.
I make sure they know that part of their Christmas gift is showing love to those less fortunate than them.
So this year, wherever you are in the world, show some love.
Reach out to those in need, donate if you can, show your fellow humans that you care and that they matter.
Demonstrate to the next generation that love isn’t found inside expensive presents, but inside your heart.
Show them that plastic toys won’t make their lives complete, but contribution will.
The funny thing about love is, the more you give, the more you get back.
And I think the world could do with a bit more of it.
He’s a clever chap that Santa.
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