Dozens of years have passed since our first Christmas together, but I’ve never lost the joy of giving presents to my wife, Peggy.
My wife grew up in a large military family. She was second oldest and had six brothers and sisters. I was the oldest and have two sisters, but they didn’t come upon the scene until I was fifteen. Our family gave a multitude of presents. My wife’s family was lucky to see a few.
Peggy and I met at college in May. By the end of November we were married and living in a small studio apartment about a mile away from school. I remember shopping for presents for her. I bought her a selection of presents ranging from dime store items to real jewelry. On Christmas day she was astounded by the amount of presents from me. When we visited my parents, she grew embarrassed by the avalanche of gifts. She still talks about her feelings over that first Christmas.
In times of tight budgets I’ve always found money for gifts for my wife and children, but took myself out of the equation for receiving. Over the years I have always just bought whatever I wanted, not big ticket items, but everyday items. Now, I realize that this was selfish of me. By not allowing others to give gifts to me, I have stolen their joy.
I have to work at it, but I can generally be encouraged to make a list of items that I would like for Christmas. On her part Peggy enjoys receiving gifts from me, but I think she is happiest when she gives me a present that both surprises and delights me. Giving and getting. Isn’t that what Christmas is about?