www.herald-journal.com
A gift is good if it makes you cry

December 24, 2007

By Kristen Miller

For many, Christmas is filled with family traditions which may include family gatherings, baking cookies, watching old Christmas movies, and decorating the tree.

Although 27 and without a family of my own to begin new traditions, it’s important for me to keep those childhood family traditions alive.

Being the youngest of four, my mom and I would be the ones to decorate the Christmas tree. This, many times, was more of a chore than a fun activity, especially in my teenage years when I would have rather been running around with friends, but I did it none-the-less.

There was no magic words that would get the boxes out of storage and assemble the tree, but the best part was opening the boxes of decorations and seeing what was inside.

From year-to-year, a person tends to forget those meaningful decorations. It’s fun to see all the handmade decorations we made in elementary school. I can’t believe my mom still has them.

Although they may not all make the tree every year, in which I’m not offended, they bring back fond memories when Christmas was all about Santa, presents, and vacation.

Now, though older, there are still those Christmas traditions that I cherish.

For example, after decorating the Christmas tree, my mother and I would sit on the couch together and admire our accomplishment.

This tradition gets harder and harder to keep up every year, with the business of life, but we’ve managed to keep it for one more year.

Another tradition my mother and I have is getting each other one special gift – this is a gift from the heart. Of course, we still give each other those other gifts like socks and pajamas, but we try and get each other a gift that will make the other cry! That’s the measure of success in a gift – if you make the other shed a tear or two.

Last year, for example, we went to the movie “The Nativity Story” together. So, for her Christmas gift, I found a beautiful figurine of Mary and Joseph holding baby Jesus.

I got a couple tears for that!

She got me back though with her gift to me. Just a few years back, I started giving her Lang books; published by the same company that makes calendars. These books are illustrated poetic stories with, usually, a heart-felt tale.

So now, she began giving me those books. I have two in my collection so far – “The Visit” (see book review inside) and “The Traveler’s Gift.”

These books are both great and I will cherish them forever, but what means more to me are the little notes she writes inside.

Before she wraps them, my mom writes a “love note” to me and puts the date on it so I will remember it for years to come. I’m pretty sure I shed a few tears reading those little notes.

My gift-giving advice – you know the gift was a success if you made them cry!