I’m honored that during December, we’ll hear from several UBER-guest bloggers about the best gifts they’ve ever received or given. I’m so honored that Roxy Davis is offering this third and fourth “gift” posts. This week we hear from Roxy about the best gift she ever gave. Thanks, Rox!
The topic at hand is twofold according to our fearless Lisa Leader: What’s the best you ever got and what’s the best gift you ever gave? The answer to these questions was easy, the two events have stayed in my heart for years and I am delighted to share them.
I think I’ll start with the best gift I ever gave. A few years back I made a friend on the web through the aegis of Live Journal. I ‘met’ her because her son knows my son and we had a lot in common, like the same delightfully evil sense of humor and cockeyed outlook on life.
We looked forward to seeing each other’s postings and peeking into one another’s world, cheering and commiserating in turn, very much like I do with Lisa. My friend was caught in some tough times, more common every day in the new America. She had lost her job, had health issues and was struggling with just keeping a roof over her head and her husband’s head. I have no clue as to why he wasn’t working; I’m not even going there lest my feminist side get all riled up for no good reason.
At that point in time, I had lost my job too, as the company I worked for downsized. Luckily my husband was working and we were tight but things were okay for us. As Christmas approached I knew there wouldn’t be much under my friend’s tree if there was a tree at all. She amazed me; she never whined and never complained, always looking for the funny side of her life. We even joked about finding her a Charlie Brown tree in L.A.
I love Christmas. I haven’t been to a mall in years during the holidays, and if I can’t make it I don’t give it. For me the joy is in the planning and the making of gifts and time spent together. That’s the magic and the mystery of the holiday and I think it is still the best part, even if I am all grown up.
I thought about her situation. I hatched a plot, calling my son and having him acquire my friend’s mailing address in a circuitous way that would not point to me. I crocheted a gorgeous soft pink woolly lonnnng muffler because my buddy had been sick and cold. I put that in a Christmas box for her. I got a box of herbal tea I knew she loved and a box of very nice Christmas cookies. Those went in too. I bought the most expensive bar of rose-scented soap I could find and wrapped it up for her because we all need a little luxury. I also put a $20 bill in a red envelope that simply said Merry Christmas on the outside. I taped my little box shut and mailed it with a return address that said Santa Claus, the North Pole. This was before 9-11, so no one thought twice about the bogus address.
Then I waited. A week or so later the box arrived and reading what she wrote about the surprise she felt at getting it was one of the best things I have ever experienced. She loved the scarf most of all and I’m glad because it was made with so much love. To this day she has no idea where that box came from which is as it should be in the mysterious magical world of Christmas.
The next year we carried out the idea as a family. I have a friend who is a social worker with moms who are finishing a drug rehab program. They have children and they have struggles every day with staying clean and moving forward. They also have no money. Amanda chose two families for us, with names, ages of the kids and a little about what they liked best. She didn’t tell them what was coming.
I emailed the information to my sons and their wives and kids and we all chose who we wanted to buy for. Two weeks before Christmas we got together and wrapped all the presents and celebrated our holiday by giving to others instead of ourselves. Those families still don’t know where their Christmas came from and that is as it should be.
I think giving with no expectation of return and thanks is the purest thing we can do for others. How do you share the magic and mystery of the holiday?