Tis the time of year when everyone is out and about trying to get the perfect gift for Christmas. So, while the masses are scurrying around in hopes of getting the newest, latest “it” gift, I am left to reflect on a simpler time when Christmas was more intimate and homemade. It is also at this time of year that I reflect on why I still hold dear certain gifts—many homemade and all of great sentimental value. Perhaps it is the history soul in me, but I enjoy receiving and giving gifts that remind me of a simpler time and a simpler Christmas. To me, it really is the thought that counts.
As a child my parents owned a ceramic shop. Ceramics seemed to be all the rage in the 70s and one year my Grammy made a ceramic Christmas tree. Looking at the tree makes me think of her and the few Christmas’s she was with us. I was fortunate enough that my mother gave me Grammy’s tree to help celebrate my first Christmas in my own house. Twenty years later it is still one of my most cherished possessions. Like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, it is a good little tree full of good and loving memories.
Again, my Grammy would crochet all the time. We always knew we would get something she had handmade—it was just a matter of what exactly it would be. One Christmas, Grammy made everyone in the family afghans. Forty years later all of us still have the afghans. When my students wonder what great gadget they will be getting, I often wonder will that toy be as cherished 40 years later as my Grammy’s afghan is.
In kindergarten, I made a Santa Clause ornament out of dough. I remember the steps to creating it—rolling the dough, cutting it out with a cookie cutter, baking it and then finally decorating it. It was that school created ornament—a time honored tradition that all students get to do and give to their parents. My Santa ornament hung on our family tree throughout my childhood. Just like my Grammy’s tree, my ornament was passed back to me for my first Christmas in my own home. Today, Santa is fragile and sits year round in a curio cabinet. I don’t dare hang it on a tree, but each time I look at it I am five years old again waiting for Santa to visit.
Another cherished item is not something that has been in my possession for years, indeed this is only my second Christmas possessing it. Ted Key, a dear friend of my family was a crafty guy—he made baskets and wreaths. He was even known to dress up as Father Christmas during the Holidays and share traditional stories with kids. Last Christmas, our first since his passing, his wife gave me one of the Christmas Wreaths he had made. Just like I cherish my Grammy’s tree, I love having Mr. Key’s wreath hang on my front door. The wreath greets all who enter my home during the holidays and reminds me of why it will be cherished for years to come.
So, these are some of my most cherished and sentimental Christmas gifts. What are yours?