The Gift of Giving

I was over at the local grade school a few weeks ago to snap a photo for the Times. I happened to pass by a third grade classroom and caught a glimpse of a little tree decorated for the Christmas season.

By Sherry Vogel

   I was over at the local grade school a few weeks ago to snap a photo for the Times. I happened to pass by a third grade classroom and caught a glimpse of a little tree decorated for the Christmas season.

   The scene took me back to a childhood memory of long ago. I was eight years old and it was the last day of school before the Christmas break. My teacher, Mrs. Ehret, asked if anyone wanted the classroom Christmas tree. A number of hands, mostly belonging to boys, flew into the air.

   The teacher asked anyone interested in having the tree to write down, on a piece of paper, what the tree would be used for. I carefully printed, “I will give it to my grandma because she does not have a Christmas tree.”  Each slip of paper was read out loud to the class, “to use as a tree fort”, “to bury in a snow bank”, and “to be burned for fire wood”.

   After some lively discussion, I was voted to be the victorious, happy winner of that med. size Douglas fir.

   Now since I lived across the street from the school, I managed to drag the tree home by its stump. I proudly explained that I had gotten Grandma a Christmas tree. It did not even cross my mind that perhaps she had intentionally decided not to put one up this Christmas.

   After my mom made a quick call to make certain that grandma would be home, I started out on a cross country, three block journey to surprise grandma. It wasn’t an easy task for an eight year old girl to pull a good sized tree that distance, but the thought of surprising my grandma with a real live Christmas tree motivated the effort.

   When Grandma answered the knock on her door she was as surprised as she could be. If she had even the slightest thought that she didn’t need a Christmas tree, it must have disappeared the minute she saw my proud beaming face. She listened amusingly as I explained how I had beat out all the boys’ bids to win this wonderful tree for her, so that she too could “enjoy Christmas with a tree in her living room.”

   It was a nice afternoon as grandma and I drank warm cider and strung popcorn garlands to hang upon the little trees branches.  For many years to come, Grandma made mention of what a nice Christmas surprise it had been, and how lovely to have the smell of a real live pine tree to warm her heart at Christmas.

   That was forty plus years ago now and grandma is no longer with us. Yet that warm memory lives on in my heart. It was a special time when I learned that it truly is better to give than to receive.

   May each and everyone have a truly Merry Christmas and make warm memories to last a lifetime.

      



GAMES