As adults, we all know that there is so much more to Christmas than just receiving presents. We know that the time we spend together and the love those presents represent are far more important. But, we also have to admit that the gifts are really, really great. To celebrate the spirit of love-filled giving, I thought I would spend this week before Christmas sharing stories of Christmas presents. I hope you'll join me each day to celebrate this season of gifts. I hope you'll share stories of your own in the comments. Merry Christmas, friends.
One of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time wasn't even a gift for me. It was a gift for my Mom, given over thirty years ago. To this day, whenever anyone in our family mentions The Junior Mint Christmas, we all smile. Let me tell you about it.
It was 1979 and we were living in the Azores, Portugal. My Dad was in the Army and we found ourselves in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Terceira Island. This was long before the days of email, cable, and cell phones. There was one television station and that signed off the air each night with the national anthem. If you wanted something, you bought what was readily available at the base commissary or PX. There was no internet, no catalogs but Montgomery Ward, and no affordable international shipping. In short, no shopping. In spite of the difficulties, my Dad always managed to do something amazing for my Mom for Christmas.
It was a few weeks before Christmas when a big box appeared under the tree. It was about half the size of today's copy paper boxes and it was labeled to Jackie, love Carl. My Dad told her to feel free to shake, she'd never guess what was inside. She shook it. And, don't you know, that thing rattled. A lot. Like a box of broken china. Dad said, "No. Nothing is broken. It's supposed to sound that way." All Christmas long we took turns shaking and guessing while Dad grinned and his eyes twinkled. I'll never forget Mom's puzzlement, her guesses, her laughter. Or Dad's delight as the guesses got odder and odder as time went on.
Christmas morning came and we all listened with our breath held as Mom gave the box one last shake. I can still see the smile on her face when she finally peeked inside. You would have thought it was a box full of diamonds. Inside was a gross, yes, 12 dozen, boxes of Junior Mints. Dad had talked the commissary officer into ordering Mom's favorite candy for Christmas. Candy she hadn't tasted in years - her perfect Christmas present.
I'm not sure, but I think Mom might have eaten the last Junior Mint the day we left the Azores for good. And, my best gift that Christmas? A lesson in loving, a lesson in creativity and thoughtfulness, and the confidence that comes from knowing your parents are truly in love.
Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad.
The picture above is of Split Rock just off Terceira Island.
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