Husband and I went Christmas shopping yesterday, something we haven’t done together in a long time. Usually, I’m the Christmas shopper, which is kinda ironic because I hate shopping. I’m terrible at it, especially during the holidays. I get overwhelmed by crowded stores and too many choices. However, yesterday was all about Grandboy and man, did we have fun. Bear in mind that for several reasons, not the least of which is an order from his parents, we couldn’t go crazy and buy him a bunch of toys even though there are an amazing number of fascinating toys out there for four-year-old little boys. Son and DIL are trying very hard to raise a kid who is sensible and understands the value of money and most importantly, the meaning of Christmas—all tough things to teach in a world where most kids are overindulged to the max.
Grandboy was allowed to ask Santa Claus for one gift because, as we all know, the man in red brings gifts to all the little children in the world. How would he ever manage if all kids wanted a bunch of stuff each year? I imagine Santa will bring him the one thing he asked for when he went to visit the jolly old elf last week. But he’ll also get gifts within reason from his mom and dad, his grandparents, and other family members and friends, so he’ll have plenty to open on Christmas morning, which brings me back to our shopping trip yesterday...standing among all the bright shiny toys in the department store made me think about my childhood and Christmas and toys...
We didn’t have much money when I was a kid—actually, we had no money when I was six years old. My father had abandoned us, Mom was working full time as a grocery store checkout clerk and going to nursing school full time. I’ve talked a lot about her here because she is a particular hero of mine—how she survived those dark days after Dad left is still a mystery to me. I don’t know that I could ever have managed with four kids under the age of thirteen, a mortgage, groceries, bills...and yet she did it and she even did it at Christmastime. I know she must have been exhausted all the time and sick with worry over how she was going to feed all of us, let alone provide a merry Christmas.
I remember that first Christmas after my father left with more clarity that any holiday that we ever had with him present. I’d asked Santa for several things, but the most important was a baby doll—not a little plastic one, but the life-sized one that had a soft body—one you could cuddle and dress up and hold like a real baby. At the time, I had no idea how hard it would be for her to fulfill the Christmas wishes of four children—I thought Santa took care of all that in his workshop in the North Pole. But that baby doll was under the tree that Christmas morning, complete with bottle, a flannel blanket to wrap her in, and a small wardrobe of clothes. I was overjoyed! I confess I don’t know what happened to baby Sandra—I named her after the prettiest actress I knew of at the time—Sandra Dee. I think little Sandra may have gone to the Goodwill when Mother moved to California, but it doesn’t matter . . . she is my best Christmas toy memory, made all the sweeter for the adult knowledge of how Mother must have sacrificed to make a little girl’s dream come true.
So, now it's your turn! Tell me about your favorite Christmas toy—one lucky U.S. commenter might just win a small Christmas prize—not sure what yet. Maybe an ornament or a tasty Christmas treat or possibly even an e-trip to Willow Bay!