This is a story of Christmas and my dear friends, Clayton and Lewie.
Each year, I do Christmas presents with these darling boys. Since his very first Christmas, Clayton receives a snowglobe from me, and an additional present. With Lewie, I do an M & M holiday gift (usually an ornament) and something else. However, I’ve recently instituted the 5 year rule for all the little children I know.
I hate buying toys. Hate it. They’re mostly stupid and dumb (watch out Bad Word Police!) and children like them for five minutes and that’s it. Plus, 9 times out of 10, they’re extremely obnoxious. But, I also don’t like buying clothes, unless it is for babies. So what else is there?
Well, books, of course, but that seems to carry some stigma. (We call it Aunt Pam Syndrome in our family–and in case she is reading this…I am eternally appreciative now that I’m an adult!) But that’s really about it. Children don’t need much.
So what are we to do?
I finally decided that once a child turns five years old, instead of silly gifts that are meaningless, I will do a special event with just that child, in order to create memories. I started with Clayton’s fifth birthday. Last Christmas I gave him a pass, but only because of a conversation we had. (And because I hadn’t instituted the Five Year Rule yet) This Christmas, I jumpstarted our holiday memory extravaganza.
I had decided that I would take Clayton out for a special day, just him and me. However, because it is December and I am a very good friend, I offered to take both boys for the morning, to give Tom and Mindy some kid-free time on the first Saturday in December. Then bring Lewie home in time for nap and take Clayton for the rest of the day.
I’m going to do a whole post about that day, but I wanted to share a conversation I had with Clayton.
He was, once again, questioning me about my gift-giving policies. I think it is confusing to him that I am different from everyone else he knows. Of course, as I was taking him out instead of giving him a gift, the topic was on his mind. He had questions about why it was so early (as opposed to closer to Christmas), why it was just him and not Lewie, why I only give him a snowglobe, and all sorts of other six-year-old queries.
His very first question when I walked in the door? “Are you giving me a snowglobe this year?” And I said “what do you think?” as I surveyed the table where he had every snowglobe I’ve given him (minus the one he destroyed when he was two) laid out in a row. It is obvious that they are special to him, even though he fights the sentiment and asks for everything BUT a snowglobe.
Later, when chatting, just the two us, he said to me. “Do you think this year you could NOT get me a snowglobe?” And I told him I had gotten him one already. He pondered that for a minute and said “well, could you not get me one next year?” And I asked him if that was what he REALLY wanted me to do. To his credit, he really thought about it before answering and saying that he only wanted a toy next year, not a snowglobe.
I was quiet for a moment thinking about what I would say in return. I finally said to him, “how do you think you will feel when you are grown up and you line up all your snow globes on a table at Christmas and there isn’t a snow globe from when you were 7? Again, he gave this a lot of thought. Then, before answering me, he asked, “can you tell me WHY you give them to me again?” I said, “don’t you remember?” And he said, “because we’re friends?”
I told him that yes, we are friends, but there is more to it than that. He asked, “is it because you’ve known me since I was born?” And I said yes. That our relationship is special and that for his whole life, he’ll always know that we’ve been friends since the day he was born and that is very rare and very special.
He gave this some thought and was quiet for several minutes in my back seat. I finally turned around to look at him, just to see what he was doing. He was looking out the window and his face looked very serious. I interrupted his thoughts to ask him about next year’s snowglobe.
He said, “it’s okay, you can give me a snow globe next year. But, maybe you can take Lewie out for a special day and give me the toy instead?”
And that, folks, is the Christmas spirit in spades!