Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Best Gift by Shana Galen


My daughter is now of the age where she can tell me what gifts she would like for Christmas. Pretty much everything she sees is added to the growing list, but a few things have been oft repeated—Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a bike, the three little pigs and wolf (I think she means the figures to play with), and a shopping cart.

Important question: can a three-year-old even ride a bike? Is that too young for a bike?




I remember making similar lists when I was…well, not so very young! It’s fun to dream and wish and ultimately be surprised by what’s under the Christmas tree. And though I have loved every Christmas because they are spent with my family and friends and because I am reminded of The Gift of Christmas, there is one gift that stands out. There was one Christmas I was totally surprised and blown away.

I was twelve or thirteen, I think, and my mother said we were going to U-Haul to pick up part of my Christmas present. This was on Christmas Eve, and I could not imagine what U-Haul would have that I wanted. I was probably a little bit sullen in the way that pre-teens can be.

We drove over there, and I remember asking dozens of questions, trying to get my mom to give me a hint and reminding her, not so subtly, that what I really wanted was make-up. Had I showed her the pink and blue eye shadow I needed?

We pulled into U-Haul and walked in, and I immediately figured out my gift.

WTL photos under Creative Commons license


And I was ecstatic.

My mom had rented a VCR for the week. That’s right. This was before everyone had VCRs and long, long before the DVD. This was back in the day when there were still VHS and Beta VCRs to choose from. We didn’t even have cable at my house, so having a VCR for a week was a big deal. And I got to check out two videos along with the rental. I chose The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was in love with Harrison Ford, even though he was old enough to be my dad.

I’ll never forget that Christmas, even though it wasn’t too much longer before my dad bought us a VCR and watching a video wasn’t so special anymore.

Do you have a special memory or a best gift you’ve been given? I was born on Christmas, so my mom always says I was her best gift, though I believe there have been days when she might have taken that back!

25 comments:

  1. That is so sweet, Shana! The most memorable gift I received was from my son, I think he was 16 or 17. I raised my kids on my own from the time they were 7 and 10. So what did he give me? A garden hose!

    He had shredded mine with the riding lawn mower by accident. LOL

    I sure laughed and we still laugh about it today. And of all the gifts I've received over the years, that's the most memorable...though he upgraded my computer for me last Christmas and I truly cherish him for it! :)

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  2. Shana, lovely post, and Baby G isn't too young for a bike. Lemar (our oldest) was riding a little one, even without training wheels at that age. My most memorable gift had to be the BB gun that Husband bought me. I didn't want to kill those vicious dogs coming into my yard, growling at me and chasing my cats, I just wanted to sting them...it worked. After the first week, I just stepped to the back door, rattled the gun and they were off in a blur. Shhhh...don't tell those PETA folks!

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  3. I just love to see what the kids have on their Christmas list for Santa..
    Baby Galen should be able to handle a bike with training wheels. Just don't forget all the head gear and such.
    I have had so many memorable gifts over the years, its hard to choose. I think though that my most memorable one was the year in which my dad had found this poem about sons and daughters, which was in each our special gifts this one Christmas to my four brothers and myself. I think I was maybe 16 at the time and my parents had bought both my oldest brother and I very expensive watches for Christmas. I can't remember what the three youngest got, but we all had to open up the gifts at the same time. It was so special. I kept that poem for a long time, but it got misplaced along the way. But the sentiment of that Christmas will always remain in my heart.

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  4. I received my best Christmas present when I was 39. Growing up, Christmas had never been a good time in our house. Even as a little kid, you could feel the tension build as mom loved the season and dad hated it. Eventually it turned into a yearly battleground. Even years later, despite some friends best efforts, I avoided the season like the plague.

    Then I fell in love, got engaged, and moved in with my fiance and my six-year-old step-daughter to be. Christmas was a miracle in my new household. They shared their playfulness, their passion, and their sheer joy with me that day. I think I cried more that day, out of the simple wonder of it, then I had in all the years before or since. And the feeling has not abated one bit in the fifteen Christmases that have followed.

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  5. I must still be sleepy...what was it? Did they get you Harrison Ford? The Millennium Falcon? :D

    I think Baby Galen could get a tricycle, if nothing else. The Little of mine has one, and thinks it's her bike. She wants a tool box this year.

    My favorite gifts have been my Shetland pony when I was 4, and the lap top my husband magically procured for me a couple of years ago.
    M.L. Buchman beats my comments. I've got tears.

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  6. For me it has to be when I got a wild barn cat for Christmas. I had begged for a pet for years and since my parents weren't really pet people, I didn't think it was possible. I've always loved animals of any kind so it was my best gift ever!

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  7. I have had many wonderful presents, but one that stands out was the year my husband gave me a rolling tote with a kit for doing book signings, with book stands and a candy dish and such. Now mind you I had no book signings actually scheduled, he just believed someday I would. It meant a lot because at time time I was thinking of giving up writing entirely. Hs faith in me kept me going.

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  8. I have had many wonderful presents, but one that stands out was the year my husband gave me a rolling tote with a kit for doing book signings, with book stands and a candy dish and such. Now mind you I had no book signings actually scheduled, he just believed someday I would. It meant a lot because at time time I was thinking of giving up writing entirely. Hs faith in me kept me going.

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  9. Wow...lovely stories. Christmases were always a little sparse when I was growing up but I remember the fantastic meals my mom would prepare during the better years. No greater gift than having a delicious home cooked meal prepared with TLC.

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  10. Aw, that's such a sweet story! My birthday is three days before Christmas and my mom brought me home on Christmas day. Probably my most memorable and used gift was my Barbie Townhouse. My first romance novels were acted out there (except they were sweet). I even had a villainess. Poor Marie Osmond doll. Secretly, I think Barbie was jealous of her sparkly purple dress. ;)

    For our nephew's 3rd birthday, my husband found a balance bike for him. It's a bike with no pedals and it's supposed to teach them how to ride a bike easier. Our nephew loves it! He gets it going and lifts his feet, so he's balancing already. We got a pink one for our niece on her last birthday. With Baby Galen being such a daredevil, she would probably love one, too.

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  11. That's actually a really thoughtful gift, Terry. And it's something a guy would get!

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  12. Carolyn, you will need to use the BB gun on the PETA folks if they see this! Okay, so we're getting Baby Galen a bike then!

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  13. Kathleen, the best presents are always the ones you open at the same time. They're special. Pretty much everything my daughter sees goes on her Christmas list. Yesterday she added a Winnie the Pooh car sun shade.

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  14. M.L. Buchman, that's such a wonderful story! I've definitely been the Scrooge in our house some years. I was too overwhelmed with a baby and work and Christmas seemed like more work. I'm on top of it this year, though.

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  15. Risurocket, oh, yes, a laptop is a great gift! My mom rented a VCR and moview with Harrison Ford for me (this was back before everyone had VCRs).

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  16. Catslady, could you even pet the cat? Or was it a kitten?

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  17. Amanda, that's so sweet! I don't think my husband would ever think of something like that for me. Your husband is practical and sweet.

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  18. Elf2060, you are so right. Now that I'm all grown up, I miss my mom's cooking.

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  19. Samantha, that's a great idea. I'll have to look into the balance bike. Where did you ever get the idea Baby Galen was a daredevil ;-)

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  20. Aww... so sweet, Shana.

    Now that I'm older (not THAT much older,) I realize how much every Christmas was special.

    My Dad would have the Christmas carols playing in the background, a fire was lit in the hearth, the Christmas lights were twinkling, and this was all done before we were allowed downstairs.

    I'd have to say the greatest gift is family. One year my husband surprised me though.

    He was born and raised on a horse farm. Christmas morning, he hooked up one of the horses to a sleigh with the big horse bells, too. We snuggled in with heavy blankets and he took me for a sleigh ride in the winter-white snow. *sigh*

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  21. No, it wasn't a kitten but at least a year or so I think and wild as all get out lol. It didn't take too long - I think I've always had a way with animals lol.

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  22. Victoria, that story makes me wish we had snow in Houston--and it takes a lot for me to wish that! Very sweet.

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  23. catslady, I could have used your help with my feral cat Roxie when she was still alive. It took 10 years just to get her to sit on my lap.

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  24. Best gift ever? That would have to be the football I received at age 15 that had Roman Gabriel's signature on it. What a hunk!

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  25. Oh, but how special that must have been!!

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