This year we have decided to give the kids stocking presents and money. Of course the stocking presents have out grown the stockings and now fill a large gift bags.
I know how much a few extra dollars from the parents meant when we were starting out.
I recently took a day and did my Christmas shopping. I had a great time doing it and might even write about the adventure later. Writing about it now would give away some of my presents, and I do not want to do that.
No longer looking for a big present for each of the kids or Glenda has taken a lot of pressure off the holidays. We are happy the kids are coming home, but we do not have a lot else planned other than being together and enjoying our family.
We will have a great laugh over the stocking presents, enjoy a great meal or two, watch some movies, go for a hike and maybe even play some Crokinole which is an old Canadian game.
I feel good about the season this year with this lessened focus on gifts. As you get older it is easy to see that it is the people in your lives who are important not the things. Material things get old and scratched up from use, but relationships better and seem to glow with age. The great thing about a good friendship is that all it takes to renew it is a phone call or a note. The lost time quickly disappears and the good memories come flooding back.
I can now understand my mother and how much she missed her friends that shared most of her life. Great friends add much to the glow and warmth of family. So far this year, I have reconnected with my high school Latin teacher whom I had not seen since 1968. I have talked to my former boss from the early nineties whom I missed talking to for about three years, and of course I ran into an old acquaintace from Canada whom we had not seen since around 1986. We also reconnected with my college friends Sally, Joe, and Suzanne.
Perhaps this being the first Christmas without my mother's physical presence that has caused me to reach out so much. I know with Mother and our beloved Lab, Chester, both being gone, there are some huge holes to fill.
I read a phrase on a wall plaque about "Footprints In Your Heart." A google search turned up a poem attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. I am assuming Google knows but no matter I think it is worth quoting here.
"Footprints In Your Heart"
Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.
To handle yourself, use your head;
To handle others, use your heart.
Anger is only one letter short of danger.
If someone betrays you once, it is his fault;
If he betrays you twice, it is your fault.
Great minds discuss ideas,
Average minds discuss events,
Small minds discuss people.
He who loses money, loses much;
He who loses a friend, loses much more;
He who loses faith, loses all.
Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,
But beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others.
You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
Friends, you and me.
You brought another friend,
And then there were three.
We started our group,
Our circle of friends,
And like that circle -
There is no beginning or end.
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present.*