I can't remember the exact circumstances of when I heard this, or who said it, or in what context it was (nice start for a Flashback Friday, huh), but I think it was a Mormon, either in General Conference, at church, or just one of our friends, and here's the gist of what this person said: We all look forward to receiving gifts at Christmas, but as the years go by, do we even remember what presents we got?
The point was that we should spend more time during the Christmas season celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and less time on the commercial aspect of the holiday. But embedded within that wonderful sentiment is a challenge I just can't pass up, at least not when it's Flashback Friday.
So - cast your minds back with me to Christmases past. Do you remember what presents you received? Here are a few of mine, recalled without the help of any photos or "wasn't there something that one year?" prompts. I remember all these things as Christmas gifts on their own merits.
A boxed set of all nine Little House on the Prairie books. I have a distinct memory of lovingly taking these books down to my room and then settling down to a long, snug Christmas break from school (second grade, probably) snugly reading these snug stories about the snug family living snugly in their snug cabin.
An Always Comfort sweatshirt from Japan. While I was growing up, my family hosted a few sets of Japanese exchange students over the summers. One year, a student sent our family a Christmas package and my sister and I each got a sweatshirt/sweatpants outfit emblazoned with the inexplicable words, "Always Comfort."
A thesaurus (not a dinosaur). I still remember what the cover of this book looked like. "Thesaurus" was one of those words I pronounced wrong for many years (see also: crayon) and to this day, I have to check myself before I say it like it's some kind of dinosaur - thee-uh-SOAR-us.
A scottie dog dress. I don't know exactly how old I was when I got this gift, but in any case, I was young enough to be wearing a black and red drop-waisted, pleated-skirt dress with scottie dogs on it. This gift gets an unfair memory advantage because it had the dubious distinction of having been discovered behind the tree a week after Christmas.
A Feder Decke/feather blanket. I remember opening it on Christmas Eve. This remains one of my more prized posessions. If you do not own a feather blanket, consider acquiring one by any means possible. Neither Jeremy nor I can hardly sleep without one, so much so, in fact, that we took one to Russia and Syria (it took up its own carry-on suitcase).
A shiny silver IKEA cup. Every time we went to IKEA in Moscow, I coveted this cup. It was around 240 rubles ($8ish) and it was one of those things that I just wanted, but I could never drum up enough reason to make it a necessity. Lucky for me, Jeremy bought it for me and gave it to me for Christmas.
How about you? Can you take the challenge?