Will the youngsters I know today have rich, heart-tugging memories of their Christmases past? I wonder.
Personally, the holiday memory clearest in my mind is when my parents illustrated that asking for a wristwatch at Christmas was a bit extravagant on my part. “Watches are expensive,” they told me, numerous times.
On Christmas I could hardly wait to open a long, rectangle box, knowing that it would be my very first wristwatch. Inside was a watch band. No watch. Just the band. Mother explained, “Maybe we can afford the watch next year. For now, we got you a band.”
Being a brave soldier, I held back tears, nodded, and told them I understood. Suddenly, Daddy said, “Okay, we’ve teased her enough.” Then he presented another wrapped gift. Inside this one was the watch that went with the band. I broke out in happy sobs. It was their way of teasing and teaching. They were making sure I treasured that watch because it was more money than they’d anticipated spending. I had that watch for years and years; lesson learned.
My parents told me of their treasured gifts as children, so vastly different from mine. An orange or apple along with a few pecans and a stick of horehound candy stuck into a sock – this was what delighted them and fueled their Christmas memories.
So, what memories will the youngsters I know have on which to reflect? Ski trips to luxury resorts where the room service was sub-standard? Only a dozen presents under the tree this year when last year they counted 15? When they had to spend the entire Christmas Day with their family instead of at the movies or mall with their friends?
A couple of years ago, I helped dish out turkey and dressing to the homeless on Thanksgiving Day and I had my eyes opened to how many children wander the streets with their moms and dads. Their Christmas memories align more closely with those of my parents. I saw their eyes light up when I mounded food onto their plates and I wondered if that same expression of wonder and gratitude could be witnessed on other children’s faces when they opened the tenth or eleventh gift on Christmas? I doubt it. Seriously, doubt it. Most of those gifts would be appreciated briefly and quickly forgotten.
Not like that stick of horehound candy received by my mother and father way back when. That stick cost a whole penny and it lasted for days – weeks! A penny well earned, well spent, and well appreciated. Plus, a memory to be passed down like a family heirloom that grows more valuable with time.
Deborah’s latest western romance is SOLITARY HORSEMAN, available on Amazon. You can find a complete list of her novels on her website, www.deborah-camp.com.
***Solitary Horseman is available for purchase at Amazon: