Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gift of Giving

As mentioned in other posts, I absolutely love Christmas. And I always have. Like so many other American children, I barely slept as a kid because I was so excited to see what Santa had brought me, and what my parents and siblings had got me. I usually didn't get anything for anyone else {my mom would buy a gift for my sisters and say it was from me, but she did all the work - I just got the credit} and just enjoyed the chance to get things! That all changed a while ago - Christmas of 2000 - with the Legend of Bagger Vance. 

We had just moved back to Utah from California and were living in our cute house in Payson on Saddlebrook Drive. My parents had just separated, but things were still really good in our lives. My parents have always had a very good relationship {for which I am SO grateful} and we were looking forward to Christmas, like every year previous. But then my mom went to go see "The Legend of Bagger Vance" in theaters and came home and could NOT stop talking about it. She loved the movie, but REALLY loved the soundtrack. So I got the idea - hey I can get that for her for Christmas. So my mom & I went to the mall to do some Christmas shopping and we go to FYE or Media Play or whatever the CD stores in 2000 were called and looked for the CD. They didn't have it and the sales associate told us that it hadn't been released yet. My mom was way bummed and we continued our shopping and then left. 

I somehow found out that the sales associate was wrong - the CD had come out and they were just out of it. So I called a few stores, found a mall that had one, reserved it under my name, and then told my mom I needed to go to the mall to do some shopping for friends for Christmas. She was really busy that day, so either she took me to the mall and came back for me or she went to the mall with me but went to other stores while I shopped. Either way, I bought the CD by myself and then hid it in my purse. I got back in the car, told her I hadn't found anything I wanted for my friends and we went home. I wrapped it and put it under the tree - and then the excitement started to build. 

My mom was looking at things under the tree before Christmas and found the CD and asked me what it was. Like I was going to tell her! And then she got all excited and said "Oh did you find the Legend of Bagger Vance CD?????". It's ok to lie at Christmas, right? So I said "No mom you were there when they said it hasn't been released yet. I really do want to get it for you, but it isn't out yet." So she was content with that answer and said she was excited to open it Christmas morning. 

Christmas Eve night, we did the traditional reading of the Night Before Christmas, left out the cookies & milk for Santa, and then the little kiddo's went to bed. I stayed up and helped my mom finish wrapping last minute presents and then went to my room. I was so excited to open my presents - I had asked for a few things that I thought there was a good chance I would get and was so anxious for 6 AM to come. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking I was also really excited to see my mom open her present. The more time that passed, the more I thought about it. I started getting nervous - thinking maybe she wouldn't like it as much as I thought or that she would have bought it for herself or something but it was too late to back out so I just tried to reassure my worries. I don't think I slept at all {I never sleep on Christmas Eve. Like ever} and when it was time to open presents, I was running around the house banging on all the doors to wake everyone. We came downstairs and opened presents, one at a time {family tradition started by my mom - it is so much more fun and lasts longer when you watch each person open their gift rather than have everyone rip into everything all at once}. When my mom picked up the CD to open it, I got really nervous again but was smiling and told her to hurry and open it. 

Her reaction was everything I could have wanted and more. She was screaming and jumping up and down and I think she may have even cried. She gave me a huge hug and I just got the best feeling ever - I was so proud of myself for giving something that someone liked so much! But more than that, I felt good for being excited about giving rather than receiving. 

The next Christmas, I did a similar trickery to get to the mall and bought her the DVD of "The Legend of Bagger Vance". The difference was, though, that on Christmas Eve, I was so excited to see her reaction {hoping it would be somewhat like the year before} that I REALLY didn't sleep. Her reaction was just as good as the year before, and from then on I have been hooked. 

As we get closer to Christmas, I keep imagining Christmas with my parents and their reactions at the things we got them. I made almost everything for my mom and am SO excited for a few of the gifts, and found something that I think my dad will love. And the things we found for Jake's parents I am SO excited about - especially the gift for Jake's mom! And the things for my secret sibling! And for Blake & Brynne! And the things for Jake! And for my grandpa! And for my best friend Cassie & her family! And I am just so excited for Christmas so that I can see everybody's reaction. And then as an after thought it occurs to me that I am going to get presents too and then I get even more excited. It sounds cliche but I really think the best part of Christmas for me is watching other people's reactions to what I give them. I love knowing that the thought and effort I put into a gift ended up being worth it. Here are a few shots of Christmas reactions in the past. 

Christmas 2008 - Jake's iHome {I lied so many times about that gift!}
Christmas 2008 - WillowTree Nativity Scene {she cried! bonus points!!}
Christmas 2008 - Poppa's license plate frame for his new car
Christmas 2008 - My reaction to the Max Hall jersey Jake surprised me with {I love his face!!}
Christmas 2009 - Jake's Celtics Pilsner cup {I had to buy 2 because the first broke in transit!}
Christmas 2009 - the animals for Mom's WillowTree nativity scene
Christmas 2009 - WillowTree called "Tenderness" of a mother holding her baby {my parents had lost a baby that year and found out they wouldn't be able to have any more children}
Christmas 2010 - my reaction to the Cabela's chaise lounge chairs for camping!! {LOVE these chairs!}
Christmas 2010 - Mom in law opening her picture collage
Christmas 2010 - Jake opening the braided leather rope that his grandpa had made before he passed away
Christmas 2010 - Love my boys!! 
Only 19 more days until Christmas!!! YAY!!!!!!!

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