“What? You will not give each other any gifts for Christmas?!!!”
I had to laugh at the incredulous look on my sister-in-law’s face as I shook my head from side to side. She could not imagine that we would want no surprises or take no surreptitious trips to the market to find that certain something that would delight a lover.
We have taken the same route with my daughter, who chose her Monopoly game board (discounted), Here and Now Edition (electronic banking instead of paper money!), with care, over a coveted Baby Alive (she thought it was too expensive – I am so proud of her). We bought it and wrapped it together and I do not think her excitement waned or was lessened because she still waited for “the day” until she could play with it and play with us (she lost during our first game and wanted to cry but won during the second and got her confidence back – we do not believe in letting her win just because she is a kid).
I know that I did like surprises at Christmas and I remember many Christmases searching with my brothers for our gifts from our mom and dad. And boy! Was my mom ever so good at hiding them. And after days of searching the cabinets (even the hard-to-reach ones), under the bed, the cupboards, drawers, garage… we would concede defeat and wait for “the day” and for the clock to strike 12. We would then, all four of us, hurry to the tree, uncovering our little treasures, squeals of delight to be heard here and there. Happiness.
Yes, there was a time when D and I used to buy Christmas surprises for each other but it seemed so long ago.
It was Ray-Ban sunglasses, my first gift to D, and it cost about US$60. I am not sure what he gave me at that time – I think that is usually the case, the giver usually remembers what he gives but not what he receives. And I remember that he was so happy and used it everyday. To think that I was just out of college, waiting for that first job and I do not know how I could have afforded such luxury but somehow, I did.
Through the years, we gave in to practicality and promised each other “no gifts at Christmas”. It was simpler this way, we thought. We took our expensive trips, and expensive dinners, bought what we want, each other what was wanted, within the supervision of the other, and Christmas was just another special day to splurge on each other and on what we want, together.
There were no disappointments, or getting out the calculator to find out who gave what and how much. There was no extra expense or an unwanted gift. He would still give me the token roses during our anniversary but that was about it.
But then a welcome surprise. A real gift.
A month before Christmas, we were treated to a vision of a miracle in my womb. We are with child.
It is indeed a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Article by Issa. Photo by Madelene. Copyright 2009.
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