This is the time of year when most folks are on the hunt for the perfect Christmas gift for those special people in their lives. Finding it is never easy, so quite often we just give up and simply ask the person what he or she wants or needs. The other option is a gift card which might be the least stressful choice, but never seemed like much fun to me.
For me the best part about gift-giving is the expression on someone’s face when he or she is taken completely by surprise. Nothing is as satisfying or rewarding as seeing the person’s face light up with joy upon receiving such a present.
But tracking down such a gift requires insight, patience and determination. Then once it is found the next step is to scope out a secure hiding place where it can be safely stored until Christmas morning. Parents everywhere have their secret stashing spots where curious youngsters will not think to look. When I was a youngster I never did find any of my gifts (certainly not from a lack of trying), but my little brother did and he didn’t even realize it.
Let me provide some context to my story. My brother was on skates at a very young age and was zipping around the arena when other kids his age had yet to don a pair of blades. As a result he became infatuated with hockey and spent hours outside (no matter how cold),shooting pucks at the side of the garage in an effort to improve his slap-shot skills. The wall of our garage bore the black marks of this barrage and as he grew older my dad had to repair the holes in the wall left behind by this onslaught.
So it only made sense that for Christmas my mom and dad decided to get my brother a real stick, not the hand-me-downs that their four year old son had been using. They knew that he would be thrilled with such a gift.
A few weeks before Christmas my brother was rummaging around in the garage looking for something when, lo and behold, he found the hockey stick which, apparently, had not been hidden well enough.
“Look what I found!” he yelled as he excitedly ran to the house, waving his miraculous “find” high in the air. His eyes were sparkling and he was practically dancing about with joy. He gave no thought whatsoever (after all, he was only four) as to how that stick had come to be in the garage or why. He only knew that he had just found an unexpected treasure.
My mom and dad just looked at each other and smiled. They did not have the heart to tell their little boy the truth. Another gift would have to be purchased, but that moment of my brother’s complete and utter joy could never be replicated. Christmas giving had come early that year and no one minded in the least!