Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Gems and Gyps.......

I was 8 years old when I received my first lesson concerning gifts at Christmas.  Of course, like most American boys of that age, I thought Christmas was about ME

My mom and dad didn't have a lot of money, but they did the very best they could to make sure I had a wonderful bunch of gifts.  The main gift for me that year was something called "Fort Apache".  Fort Apache was a set of frontier fencing and guard houses, complete with dozens of plastic army soldiers and cavalrymen, horses, wagons, and so forth...and a bunch of plastic native Americans who were the bad guys.  This array was set out on our living room floor for me to find on Christmas morning.  I was ecstatic when I saw it.

I remained ecstatic for about two hours, which was just long enough for me to discover that my neighbor friends Walter and Allen had been given a BB gun and a football, respectively.

I was quite upset that they seemed to have been given "better" gifts than I.  When I informed my dad and mom that I felt that I had been "gypped", my mom had to physically restrain my dad from murdering his eldest son.  I had simply not yet learned about the sacrifice my parents had made just to give me that gift and others that they really could not afford.

Years later, when I asked my dad what kind of gifts he received for Christmas when he was growing up, he told me it was a good day if he received some fruit to eat---maybe an apple and a banana and an orange.  My, how times have changed.

By the time I was 10 years old, I had learned a thing or three about humility and appreciation.  My parents spent the unheard of sum of one hundred dollars on a set of World Book Encyclopedias.  That was the only gift I received that year, and I loved those books.  By this time I had learned how much one hundred dollars was, and I had also learned how much sacrifice went into their purchase.  I kept those books until last year when we moved into our present home---we just didn't have the space for that set of books any more.

Nowadays, children are showered with gifts in such large numbers that they don't even know what all they have received or who gave them what.  I was also guilty of this when I raised my kids.  But the fact is that parents are certainly not doing their children any favors by giving in such obscene quantities. 

Now that I'm older and have been around, I would say that a Christmas day with gifts lovingly given of apples and oranges and bananas would be just about the best Christmas ever.

What are some of your favorite gifts from your past?  Did you ever get gypped?


  1. What is it about human nature and us not being satisfied with what we should appreciate?

    My similar story to yours is my Christmas the year those life-size walking dolls were popular. Santa brought me one, a beautiful blonde headed doll. I was happy until the day I saw my friend Debbie's doll. Debbie doll had red hair and I thought it was so much prettier than mine. I whined about how I wished my doll had red hair like Debbie's.

    I still remember my aunt trying to console me by telling me how lucky I was my doll had blonde hair. She explained that red heads could only wear "certain colors". :~

  2. My dad passed away a week before Christmas when I was three yrs old. Mum always did her best and I (even at that tender age understood). Until the day she passed away she was always there for me. Christmas must have been awful for her yet she never showed any unhappiness.
    Thank you mum.


  3. we were very poor. i remember a box of apples was the family gift one year. wonderful! i was the youngest of 8 so as my siblings grew up and moved out, i was often the recipient of gifts from them - a stuffed animal from my oldest sister and her husband; a book from an older brother. i was spoiled. :)

  4. A hearty AMEN, Clint. My favorite gifts from the past were books, books, books. I loved to read and still do now. A very merry and blessed Christmas to you and Cindy!

  5. I can almost picture your dad needing to restrain himself from killing you! I know that temptation, when gifts given in sacrifice and love go unappreciated. Of course, I've been on both ends of that equation. My favorite gift was a toy sink and stove my dad had built out of plywood, downstairs in the basement for my sister and me. It now resides downstairs in my basement, my daughter having played with it when she was little. I just don't know what I'm going to do with that when it's time to move out of this place. So many memories! Merry Christmas, Clint! Savor all the good gifts of Christmas.

  6. You are right... I am always counting to make sure everyone has the same amount... oh boy... every year... I say --it will be different next year

  7. Thanks for sharing and the beautiful story.

    Yes, I had a favorite Christmas was a guinea pig, I called her Speedy Gonzales. It was my first animal after our dog died.

    Have a beautiful evening and a lot of greetings to you and Cindy

  8. Still smiling from you using the word "gypped". My dad used that word all the time.

  9. Neat story Clint. Children really know how to wound parents.
    For me, two baby hamsters donated by a neighbor and my dad spenting a portion of Christmas eve night building the cage. He was not handy with a hammer but he tried. Those little creatures were adorable but what put me over the moon was that my dad was back in our lives again after several months separation. That was the best.

  10. Fort Apache is the better toy than a BB gun.

    We don't give gifts to our children and they never seem to expect any from us.

    Happy holidays and Merry Christmas Clint and Cindy.

  11. Great story! I don't ever remember feeling that I didn't get what I wanted. My dad worked 3 jobs and mom worked full time, I can't imagine the sacrifices they made to make sure we had the Christmas's we had.

  12. Interesting tale you tell, and honest as well :)
    Being the only child I wasn't spoilt, I don't think I was. I never received a lot of gifts but what I did receive I appreciated.

    People have changed Christmas, many don't know what Christmas stands for unfortunately.
    My parents didn't receive anything for Christmas when children so they didn't expect anything.

  13. Clint this is a great question, I too grew up without much of anything but I remember family and togetherness. That, to this day, is the best gift of all.

    Burton Hillis said it best: "The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."

    Have a wonderful day, I sure am as I've finally made time to catch up on missed reading and my visits here on Blogger. I miss all of you when I can't make my daily rounds. :-)