Christmas Gifts: The Unexpected and Expectations (and an 8-author giveaway)
This is not a sentimental Christmas memory … and I do have my husband’s permission to share this story.
Once upon a Christmas time, my husband and I were newlyweds celebrating our very first Christmas together. Our tiny one-bedroom apartment was festive, thanks to the shiny silver aluminum Christmas tree — yes, silver — we’d decorated with a few ornaments we’d purchased. The tree was compliments of Rob’s parents, a holdover from the days when his stepfather sold them to stores up and down the east coast.
On Christmas morning, I was eager to see what romantic gift my husband had waiting for me under our tree. A bottle of perfume? A delicate necklace or a pair of earrings?
Um … no.
Leaning against the wall was a blue hiking backpack with a gift tag on it. (I should mention at this point that, despite marrying an Eagle scout, I had never gone backpacking in my life.) And yes, the “TO” on the gift tag was me and the “FROM” on the gift tag was my husband.
But wait … there’s more.
My husband, who had a huge grin on his face, handed me two other packages wrapped oh-so-precisely in Christmas paper. At the time, he was an engineer — and he still wraps presents with military precision and right angles. In one package was a gray wool hat. In the other was … long red underwear.
You read that correctly: long red underwear. (My husband informed me the proper name is “union suit.”)
My visions of romantic Christmas presents disappeared in a puff of red wool.
I smiled. I thanked my husband.
To this day, I do not remember what I gave my husband for our first Christmas — and I don’t think he remembers either. We both remember how I cried in bed that night, sobbing out my disappointment about receiving long red underwear for a Christmas present.
My husband: But now we can go winter camping together!
Me: When did we ever discuss winter camping?
I share this memory because through the years, it has become a favorite Christmas memory for my husband and for me. We learned several things that first Christmas:
- How unspoken expectations can trip people up (friends, family, married couples) at Christmas time and other times during the years
- How gifts need to be received for what they are — gifts — not judged for what they are not
- How laughter is often the first step to forgiveness
And just in case you’re wondering: I still have that … um … union suit my husband bought for me. And yes, while we have gone camping together, I’ve never gone winter camping. The red long johns only function as a reminder to accept any gift — knowing each present is given with love.
Christmas Giveaway from me and 7 author friends!
Now to share some Christmas fun with you! Some special writing friends and I decided to put together a Christmas Fiction giveaway for our readers! This will be a fun blog tour that takes you to our blogs for Christmas memories and traditions. You can come back to this post for links to each post as they go live. And be sure to check out each one because many of us will have additional giveaways on our sites. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. Or you can also click on the prize graphic below to enter.
– 12/10 – Beth Vogt: A copy of Somebody Like You or A November Bride (winner’s choice); a $5 Starbucks card
– 12/12 – Cara Putman: A copy of Where Treetops Glisten; B&B Works lotion
– 12/14 – Kristy Cambron: A copy of The Butterfly and the Violin or A Sparrow in Terezin (winner’s choice); a $5 Starbucks card
– 12/16 – Katherine Reay: A copy of Lizzy & Jane or Dear Mr. Knightley (winner’s choice); a Lizzy & Jane tumbler
– 12/18 – Katie Ganshert: A copy of A Broken Kind of Beautiful; an audio copy of An October Bride
– 12/20 – Courtney Walsh: A copy of Paper Hearts; Christmas artwork
– 12/22 – Melissa Tagg: A copy of Here to Stay; an It’s a Wonderful Life DVD
– 12/ 24 – Sarah Ladd: A copy of A Lady at Willowgrove Hall; a Pride and Prejudice DVD
*Winner announced 12/26