Uh-oh, Christmas tree!

Published 3:00 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

“Uh-oh Christmas tree, Uh-oh Christmas tree, where are thy many presents?”

That’s the song they’ll be singing around my house this Christmas and they’ll probably be sorely disappointed on Christmas morn. But, I’ve given them fair warning: One present for each person. There’s no price limit. That one present may cost one dollar or one thousand dollars. But not matter the cost. One present.

Eyes have rolled and heads have shaken. “Crazy ol’ woman” is understood.

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But this year, I’m with the Grinch. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, does mean a little bit more.

Every year at Christmas time, we spend way too much time and waste too much money buying presents that people don’t need and probably don’t want and trying to make sure that we “even out” everything for everybody.

One person will have two presents while another has three. So, it’s back to the store to even out. But, while at the store, there’s a sale and you pick up something that ups another’s gifts to four. So now four is the number to match. On and on. Soon there are more presents under the tree than there are ornaments on the tree. Sigh.

All that time spent shopping, wrapping and getting even could have been spent getting together. How much fun a picnic would be or a game of chicken scratch or, heaven forbid, Monopoly. A walk in the woods, a “weenie” roast or going to a picture show would be time better spent than shopping at the mall.

But, I’ve got something up my sleeve to make this Christmas a “little bit more” for those who otherwise might find it a little disappointing because of the “one present rule.”

I’m harkening back to my Aunt Jeanette. I’m not sure whether it was her 85th birthday or her 90th but that doesn’t really matter. She had herself an “absolutely no gifts” birthday party at a popular restaurant in the Wiregrass. She invited family, friends and neighbors.

After a great lunch, we all gathered round for a time of remembrance. Aunt Jeanette hauled, and I do mean hauled, out a huge basket of wrapped gifts and asked each of us to take a gift, any gift, to be unwrapped in turn.

At first, we were embarrassed, and rightly so, not one of us had brought a gift for her.

As we began to unwrap the gifts, we soon began to understand.

“Jeanette, didn’t I give you this one year at Christmas?” Mayretta asked as she held up a brightly colored silk scarf?”

“Yes, so I guess you liked it,” Aunt Jeanette said. “Now, you’ve got it.”

In short order, we all realized what Aunt Jeanette had done. She had wrapped all of the presents she had gotten over the years but never used and was lovingly giving them to her party guests.

We had a fun time opening the gifts. Like Mayretta, some of us recognized gifts we had given Aunt Jeanette and others, laughingly, admitted to passing gifts on down to her. We all hooted when someone unwrapped a cookbook because Aunt Jeanette admitted to not even knowing how to turn on the kitchen stove. “Who would have ever given me that?” she laughed.

The gift I got from Aunt Jeanette that day is a treasured remembrance. So, hopefully, the nostalgic presents my family receives at the Christmas potluck supper will mean just a little bit more than their one gift waiting for them under the Christmas tree.