Holiday Memory: The Best Gifts Don't Come Wrapped

Felicia's family, together for the holidays.
Felicia’s family, together for the holidays.

by Felicia Raimer

If you know anything about me, you know that I like to know EVERYTHING.

So, naturally, I have never been one for surprises, no matter how sweet or well thought out.And while I absolutely adore this time of year, Christmas was no exception to that rule.

You see, I’m very inquisitive by nature. (My family might say “nosy” or “snoopy.”) I am well-known in my family for being the one who sought out gifts, high and low. I got really good at it, too! But because of my inability to lie, my parents always knew what I was up to.

My mom ended up becoming better at hiding gifts – and setting me up!  This did not bode well. I love a good challenge.

And I went from really good at finding presents to EXPERT.

Even gifts that were already wrapped and placed under the tree were not safe from me. I would take an exacto knife, cut the tape just perfectly, delicately remove the gift from the wrapping paper, find out what the gift was, and rewrap it.

Christmas tree -FeliciaI did this for many years.

Until the year I turned 12.

My mom had tried so hard, had wrapped all the gifts, had hidden them, and had tried everything she could in order to make sure I didn’t know.  But that Christmas, I still knew what every single gift was before I opened them.

I couldn’t hold back my disappointment. My mother was also disappointed – and upset with me.

In that moment, I realized the extent of what I’d done.

I’d been so focused on finding out what my presents were that I’d forgotten about the magic of Christmas, the value of being surprised, AND I’d ruined the special day for someone else, too.

That’s when the true meaning of Christmas hit me.

It wasn’t about gifts and knowing what they were. It was about family, about listening to my grandpa read the scripture, about celebrating the birth of Jesus, and embracing the celebration.  It was about mom handcrafting a new Christmas decoration every year and it being a surprise who would get the newest keepsake. It was about the rumble and grumble early Christmas morning, my dad making us coffee, and spending that day together…as a family.

Something changed for me that year.

So while I still love and appreciate the gifts I receive, I cherish the memories and love that surround all of us during this time of year far more.

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