The Gift of Giving
Somewhere in the hustle and the bustle of the season, I overlooked taking Cole out to do Christmas shopping of his own. Our Christmas budget was tight this year, so I was focused on stretching it as far as possible. Christian and I decided to skip gifts for each other (although we didn’t stick to the plan), and we tried to shop smart for the boys. I didn’t even think about having Cole do any shopping until he mentioned it.
This year I want to wrap everyone’s gifts from me by myself.
Uh oh. Cole didn’t have any gifts to give anyone this year. I back pedaled, replanned, and asked his grandma to take him shopping. They spent a Monday night having dinner and going all over town while Cole searched for his perfect gifts to give. He came home spilling over with excitement. He dragged me up stairs to tell me what he got Christian. He snuck into the living to tell Christian what he bought for me. All week long, he kept looking for validation that we would love our gifts. He asked questions that were obviously about what he picked out. The anticipation of giving was driving him nuts.
On our Christmas morning together (the Saturday before Christmas since he was flying to his dad’s house on Sunday), he woke up at 5:45am. He snuck down stairs. He peaked under the tree. As soon as Christian and I stumbled out of bed and into the living room, Cole insisted we open his gifts first. Before the stack of presents from Santa, Cole wanted us to open the gifts he picked out.
I went first. A new book that I adore. Love, Life & Elephants. And new slippers. He narrated the opening of the gifts by telling the story of how he picked them out. The slippers: my slippers have a hole in the bottom of them. The book: he knows I love to read. He knows I love nature. So he went to the nature section of the book store. He knows I adore Elephants. He found my perfect book. Although I love the sentiment behind the book the most, I really do love the book and really look forward to reading it.
Christian was next. A New York Giant’s lunch box and a yo-yo. The lunch box is for Christian since he packs his lunch every day, and together Cole and Christian cheer on the Giants. The yo-yo: Cole got a yo-yo from my parents for Christmas the weekend before. Little did we know that Christian is a yo-yo master. Christian quickly took over Cole’s yo-yo and showed off all his skills. Cole got him his own yo-yo so he could have his yo-yo back.
This is (and perhaps always will be) one of my favorite Christmas memories. In my desire to give and make Christmas special for my boys during a tough year, I forgot how magical they would feel if they could give too. I didn’t want Cole spending money on gifts for us because we don’t need anything. But what I missed was the pure excitement and happiness Cole felt by giving. I forgot that Christmas isn’t just about me giving them gifts, but it’s also about teaching them to love giving. I’m glad Cole didn’t let this holiday season slip by without insisting that he give too.
Lesson learned. Lesson absorbed. Thank you Cole for making our holiday magical.