We all want to give our children the very best we can — and this is especially true during Christmas and Hanukkah. But the “best” isn’t necessarily the newest toy, the latest fad or the most popular fashion. The “best” is generally ourselves.
When I recall Christmases past, I remember spending hours — or at least what seemed like hours — stringing popcorn and cranberries together to garland the tree.
I recall pulling the tree ornaments out from the attic that were carefully wrapped the year before, up to and including the star that served as the tree’s topper.
I remember Mom reciting “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” as she tucked us unto bed, along with an admonition that Santa wouldn’t come until we went to sleep.
I recall finally nodding off, no matter how hard I tried to stay awake on those cold, Michigan evenings. When Santa finally made his appearance, the only thing he would see was our noses sticking out from under the covers.
I remember waking and tip-toeing down the stairs to see a mound of presents wrapped under the tree (yes indeedy, there really is a Santa).
But ya’ know what? I can’t recall a single present. Not a one. Nada. Zilch. Zero.
I know I had to have received a bike or two — but I really don’t remember. I know from an old photograph that one year I got a pedal-car. But apart from that faded picture, I don’t remember a thing.
I will never forget, however, the wonderful aroma of Mom’s turkey in the roaster. I can still taste her whipped cream topped pumpkin pie and hear Dad’s laughter at someone’s joke. And that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?
So all you parents out there — especially you single moms who struggle every day to make ends meet — don’t sweat the presents. The very best present in the world is yourself. It’s the only one anyone remembers and it’s the only one that truly matters.
So I bid you a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and here’s to all your own special memories this season.