Ok ... we know Christmas isn't all about getting gifts ... but it sure is a fun part of the holidays! And there's nothing better than a gift that has a lot of thought behind it. That's why the Cross Country Christmas is so cool ... you can make the perfect present and get the double enjoyment of thinking of that person and imagining their reaction as you do it. I know Terry has something fun on her blog today that you'll be able to whip up in minutes! Ok ok ... hours!
I grew up in Lake Elmo MN ... a suburb of St Paul now but on the edge of the earth when we were growing up. Our nearest neighbor to the north was a quarter mile away on the other side of the orchard. But the ones I knew the best were the Armstrongs ... up the hill to the south past huge fields of varying crops. They were four siblings who lived together and farmed their parents land after they passed away. Julia was my favorite ... she always had special treats for us at Halloween and cookies in her jar if Mom sent us up on an errand. It was a long walk back home, you know!
Except for the traditional exchange of baked goods at Christmas, I don't remember her giving any of us kids gifts. Until the year I went into first grade. It was an especially tough time for me. My sister, Mary Jane, had left for the convent late in the Summer and I missed her terribly. And then I started first grade at Transfiguration complete with all the trauma of getting to know 60+ classmates and a semi-stern Sister Carolinda at the front of the classroom. (And the dreaded Sister Emerita waiting for me in the second grade room!!) Plus right in the middle of all the holiday baking, my mom severly cut her hand ... with me standing right next to her. Somehow I remember the phrase "she's been such a good little helper" attached to me after that incident.
Julia saw all of this and a few days before Christmas, she walked down with a gift ... just for me. The biggest Christmas miracle is that my Mom let me open it! I loved it then and I still love it today. Julia knew I was excited about learning to read so this Mother Goose book was just perfect.
The illustrations are adorable and so brightly colored ... totally opposite of traditional Mother Goose books. The copyright is MCMXL ... so what does that tell you about how old I am?? It's in pretty good shape considering I read it from cover to cover over and over again. I keep it in the hideout if you want to see it sometime. I can't remember Julia's face any longer but I remember her!
There were other memorable gifts growing up ... like the baby doll that fit into this dress my Mom made for her. Or the bride doll that Santa brought just days after me seeing it in the variety store in downtown North St Paul!
And who can forget the ant farm I got during the cousin's exchange one year ... or the weeks of fretting on my Mom's part that they would get out! That issue vanished shortly after I lost interest and forgot to feed them. Or my first new-mom Christmas when my darling eight month old Robbie crawled for the first time ... right under the tree. Didn't need that one wrapped up with a bow on top!!
Christmas. I guess it is sort of about the gifts, isn't it. But it's a lot about the remembering!