“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents”
That my friends is the opening line to one of my favorite novels and the first big book I remember reading- Little Women. In the story the March sisters have been told by their Mother they should forgo Christmas presents because “it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices”
As the story continues they decide to spend the dollar they have on themselves but unselfish Beth convinces them to instead buy a present for their Mother. The girls get as much pleasure selecting gifts for their Marmee (Mother) as if it had been for themselves. They even end up giving their Christmas breakfast to a family in need rather than enjoy it alone.
While I am eventually getting the desire of my heart for Christmas, and the March girls went without, I found myself thinking about this classic scene today as I kind of had a Christmas without any presents.
I’m not complaining at all as I had a great day but it was an interesting experience to have a Christmas with one present to open (an awesome book from my sister! Thanks Meg).
Sadly even the gift to myself was a bust as my Le Creuset pot had a giant crack down the side (both sides). I can return it of course but that was a bit of a letdown.
My siblings and I didn’t exchange gifts this year and my parents are bringing me my gift on Monday (so again don’t feel sorry for me by any means).
I’m not going to lie to you and say my experience was perfect and I didn’t miss opening presents on Christmas. Of course I did. That’s part of the fun of Christmas is opening presents and seeing what people have thought to get you.
But on the other hand it did force me to focus on the day in a new way. I know this will sound cheesy but I found myself as excited to see the reactions of the presents I had sent as I would normally be for my own presents.
Particularly my gifts for my nieces were a big hit. I had found a lady on facebook who made bow and arrow sets for kids and sent one to all 5 of my nieces and they loved them!
I was also excited to see what my Mother thought about the knitting book I got her or my Dad the Beethoven set he had requested.
I also looked at my life for the many gifts I have and tried to focus on those. I got invited to my friends The Porters for Christmas day breakfast this morning and what a lovely way to start off the day. I’m so blessed by good friends in my life. I got to see the sister missionaries and think about the gift my mission was. I’m so grateful my favorite mission comp Julia Graves is coming to visit on Tuesday.
I woke up to snow on Christmas when we had none up to the 24th. I don’t know if I have ever had a true White Christmas out of nowhere like that before. It was really fun.
I put together a version of our German Christmas Eve meal and thanked my Heavenly Father for the food I have and the bounty in my life.
I looked at my tree and felt grateful for each of the memories captured on my Memory Tree. The travels, smiling faces and love that abounds in my heart.
I thought about the joy art, music, theater and film give my life. Yesterday I went to see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen and had a tremendous experience (probably causing me to be extra sentimental today).
Aside from the breakfast, I have basically spent Christmas day alone. I know people who would find that idea incredibly depressing, almost unimaginable. And yet today I felt gratitude for the overwhelming blessings of my life.
Mostly I felt grateful for the gift of Christ’s birth and atonement in my life. For my knowledge of His goodness and love and that when I am alone he is always there to buoy me up and I mean ALWAYS.
So yes Jo, I can confidently say ‘Christmas is still Christmas without any presents’. It is what you make of it and in the end we all have many presents just being an America and living a life with a witness of Jesus Christ in our hearts. That is what this Christmas taught me. While I missed opening presents (I’m not a saint!) I realized its a tertiary joy of Christmas not the primary reason to celebrate. Sounds cheesy but it’s true.
And as Clarence told George Bailey- ‘no man is a failure who has friends’. Thanks to all of you for being my friends this holiday season.