When I was a young, my parents asked me to look through the Sears catalogue and pick out gift ideas to put on my Christmas list. (For you Gen Y’ers, a catalogue is like a website, only much heavier and harder to rip.) My earliest memory of this ritual was at age 5, when I flipped the page and found the coolest thing ever… tiger socks!
They looked a bit like these socks in the picture (without the Longhorn logo.) They had orange and black tiger stripes with little white felt claws sewn onto each toe. For some reason I thought they would be awesome to wear around the house. I figured I could run faster and jump higher with those magic socks on.
In hindsight, my mom and dad probably thought they looked ridiculous… and I remember my dad saying something to the effect of “Are you SURE that’s what you want?” He was rightfully concerned that his son wanted to be a large feline predator.
“Well, I hope Santa Claus can find those.” My dad’s lukewarm reaction gave me the impression that I might not get them.
Now, you parents know that when a child tells you they really want something, you will do anything in your power to fulfill their wish. (Hence the hysteria around “hot” toys and the mad dash for Black Friday bargains… but I digress.)
On Christmas morning, I ripped open the wrapping on my new tiger socks. It was probably the most inexpensive gift I received that year, but one of the most memorable. Why? Sometimes it’s not the gift itself but what it represents. My parents delivered on the one thing I really wanted and they did it out of love. That was the real gift.
I’ve received hundreds of gifts throughout my life since then. I appreciated them all, but the ones I remember most are the ones I didn’t expect (like my first car), as well as the small personalized gifts that showed the person put thought into it.
As you head into the final shopping countdown this week, take a moment and focus on a few people who really made a difference in your life last year. Take out a card and a pen and write down why they are so special to you. Your card will be an unexpected gift and the one gift they treasure most.
Thank you for reading Short Stories with a Point this past year. If there is a particular story that was memorable to you, please share in the comments below. I wish you peace on the little piece of earth you stand on, and a New Year beyond your expectations!