Christmas Gifts and More…

Last year at about this time I complained to Hubs that my children had lost the habit of writing thank you notes and sending birthday or Mother’s day cards…or Father’s Day cards for that matter.

I also griped that by the time Christmas was over no-one had any desire for, or money left to bother with buying me a ‘proper’ gift…unlike those birthdays that fell in the middle of the year.  I felt I was brushed off with a brief phone call or text…

Hubs always quotes my caution to him when we were first married,

“Don’t ever make the mistake of combining my birthday with Christmas…it doesn’t work…Christmas is Christmas, my birthday is my birthday.  They are separate…”

Hubs memo’d the offspring that a casual text of “Birthday Gift!” would no longer cut it…

My oldest and most favored son responded,

“Mum wants cards, I’ll give her cards…” and he did,


10 cards hanging. Not shown is a letter and a Christmas card.

Twelve of them, one for each month, with a date on the back of the envelope for opening…I’d scurry to my calendar to see what the special observation was, sometimes it was marked: daylight savings or Martin Luther King day but other times it was a personal memory like Funyuns Day or Weird Al’s birthday.

He hand delivered a letter in August when he came home for Daughts’ wedding and his Christmas card hung out with the other Christmas cards in the living room.


The trend was contagious and I found myself sending him cards too adding such events as Poppy Day and Chinese New Year to ring the changes.  I also found myself posting notes off to PerriPoppins who always left me an appreciative text and surprisingly remembered Mother’s Day and sent me a,

“Just because I love you…” card!

Of course, Daughts the Barn-mate and closest child and neighbour is prolific with her cards and thank you’s; she remembers both the American and English Mother’s Days and leaves appreciative notes when she comes over to raid the pantry.

This Christmas we were both blessed with gifts from children and they didn’t fizzle out to a few Hershey kisses by the time my birthday came round 5 days later.

In fact I received an early and surprise birthday gift from my nannying daughter which I’ve already blogged about here.

From then on the presents kept rolling in.

Hubs and I received a much appreciated counter top mixer from his mother…now I know she isn’t one of my children but this gift deserves a very special mention because it’s not just any old mixer, it’s a KitchenAid in aqua that complements my kitchen cabinets  beautifully…


and reminds me of England where our appliances started coming in an array of colours years before the Americans caught on.

It’s a professional 6 quart because I’d been told,

“If you get the smaller one you’ll have moments when you wished you had the larger one…”

So we splurged, or at least my mother-in-law did,

“You need to have exactly what you want…” she said.

And now we do.  I would never buy one for myself ,which is the point of a gift right?

The gift from our California dwelling son came in a large, very light box from Amazon.  We were instructed to put it away and only open it on Christmas Eve while Face Timing him.

Wild guesses as to what it might be ranged from a lightweight blue ray DVD player on which to play “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”, to the gutted Rasta-Banana he had sitting in his living room that a friend had won on a midway in LA and needed/wanted back in Dallas… but it was in an Amazon box…

After mass we dragged the present from our closet and sat with a computer to call Ina,


Waiting to open The Box.

Inside the massive box we found four Squatty Potties, one for each of the siblings and parentals.

You can hear all about it right here,   Colon health here we come! And something we would never buy for ourselves!

Still with my film maker son, five days later he had me open his gift to me…a film scanner…


Ina loves sharing technological stuff with me because he knows I’m the family historian and am researching ways to digitize our vast collection of photographic memories.  I’ve already DVD’d all the videos detailing our lives.  The project took place one  hot, hot summer and we relived the highlights from our lives, birthday by birthday, in the living room at Collins.  Happy pre-empty nest memories!

Luckily I do have all the negatives from 1987 onwards, sorted by year.  I can’t vouch for their quality as they’ve been stored in various tubs under stairs, in attics and on top of filing cabinets in the garage.

Perhaps when I’m ready to tackle that project my most favored son and I can spend some quality mother/son time hunkered over thousands of negatives spanning thirty years and watch them pop up in an orderly fashion on our Macs for the siblings to share.

I never would have thought to buy one of these for myself!  I’m beginning to see a trend in these gifts…

Daughts re-gifted me with a Fitbit for my birthday, a valuable present because it holds its resale value and she could have chosen to put it on Craig’s List instead of in a pretty gift bag.

In stores selling these little trackers I had persisted in my desire NOT to own one,

“I have a perfectly reliable Walker App…and it’s free!”  I told Hubs tapping my pretty iPhone.

Only what did I know?  I love the little gadget and monitor it throughout the day like a teenager.  I am amazed that it converts my steps into calories burned, keeps track of my pulse and vibrates when I make 10,000 steps…it even displays stairs I’ve climbed even though I don’t!

Our bird keeping son is now a master forger and I’m not talking about money although we wish!  He hammers steel into knives and never imagining we’ll be recipients of his priceless creations that we certainly could not afford to buy for our kitchen collection, we were thrilled to receive two over the course of the year,


watch out, these babies are sharp and I’m not just talking about their looks.  Practical works of art.

On a closing note, several years ago whileI was  still homeschooling, a friend of mine went on a trip to Paris, France.  She brought me home a little French schoolhouse with six figures that represented our family.

PerriPoppins fell in love with the tiny figurines and I allowed her to put them on her bedroom shelf.  Unfortunately they fell off the shelf after a matter of days and disappeared behind her bed.  I retrieved them and we occasionally unwrapped the Parisienne gift to admire but never display.  It sat for years at the top of my closet.

For Christmas, probably twenty years later, Hubs built a custom box and positioned and affixed the little family safely behind glass…


The trees of Footlights in the background

We wrapped it carefully and gave it to PerriPoppins…

“I remember I knocked this over when I was about eight and although you didn’t say as much I thought I wasn’t responsible enough to have it on my shelf…” she said wiping tears from her face.

“It didn’t go on anyone’s shelf…” I said hugging her.

“I love it!” she said.  “Thank you!”

And thank you everyone who caused this year to abound with treasured gifts, some we can touch, other’s we can cherish in our hearts, none that we would have bought for ourselves.

May 2017 overflow with the love that passeth all understanding so that you may be filled up with all the fullness of God.  (Ephesians3:19)

Amenie – men.

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2017-01-23 16:20:27 Reply

We did have fun and we have great children. Thank you.

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