Monday, December 15, 2008

The Paper Clip Necklace

When I think of Christmas' gone by, I can't help but believe that my best memories stem from my youth. Christmas is always a wonderful time, but there is something different about being young and believing in the magic.

There are many definitions of fortunate. Some will tell you it's the person with the most money. Other's will tell you that it is the man who couldn't pay his electric bill, but made enough money to purchase a loaf of bread to feed his family.

Fortunate to me would be the word to describe my entire life. We had our highs and lows as many families do, but there was always something waiting under the tree for us Christmas morning.

I remember the year I was awoke by my brother. He wanted to tell me that he had already snuck out to the living room and looked at our presents. "Santa left you a Whoopsie Doll," he said. "But he left me a racetrack." I could barely hold the excitement in. I couldn't wait to play with my brand new doll.

The Christmas of 1982 left us discovering a large white sheet in the living room. All three children were left their first bikes. It was hard to open any gifts after that. We couldn't wait to get outside and try our brand new wheels.

I have received much more than I can remember, but there has always been a special gift that has stayed close to my heart. I believe it was Christmas of 1986. I had opened all the gifts under the tree and had just finished my stocking. Normally then we would give our mom her gift and then exchange with our siblings. We relied on the Secret Santa shop run by our school to buy those special gifts. I'd like to say I remember what I gave everyone that year; but I don't. However, I do remember the gift that was handed to me by my little sister.

It was barely the size of my hand. Wrapped in Christmas paper, and heavily covered in streams of scotch tape, the process of opening my new gift was slow and tedious. As I pulled back the layers of paper, a strong smell began to emerge from within. I shortly began to realize that the smell of nail polish was lingering inside. I thought something must have exploded, but I was wrong.

As I reached the final layer, I must have looked confused. "It's a paper clip necklace," my sister explained. "I didn't have money to get you anything else, so I decided to paint it your favorite color pink. I borrowed your nail polish. I did it last night, so be careful, it may be a little wet."

You may be thinking to yourself: What does one say after receiving such a gift? They say what they would after receiving any gift..."Thank you."

And that's the story about my favorite gift. It didn't come in a larger than life box. It wasn't professionally wrapped, nor did it come with a warranty or gift receipt. But it was perfect.

As you run from store to store this year, try keeping this story in mind. If you're looking for the perfect gift this year, chances are, you probably already have it.

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