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Surprise Christmas Gifts!

If ever there was a Christmas to give surprise gifts, it’s this one.  Unexpected gifts that bring smiles and laughs and memories. 

            Neither Husband’s nor my family pulled pranks often, but we remember a few surprises, like the year Uncle B played a trick on his father-in-law, my grandfather.  Papa was one of the most honest and fair and no-nonsense people I’ve ever known.  When Mom shopped for shirts for his three sons-in-laws’ Christmas presents and then told Papa the cost of each, he would give her money, even as little as a dollar, to put in the pocket if a shirt cost less than the others. 

            Every Christmas Papa gave one-pound boxes of Paul’s Stick Candy, soft stick candy of many different flavors, and as a kid I thought he owned the candy company because his name was Paul.  Papa tucked a $20 bill under the top flap of the white cardboard box – fifty years ago that amount bought a brown paper bag full of groceries.

            Uncle B told everyone except Papa his plan.  When Uncle B opened his and Aunt Nell’s box of candy, he swapped the $20 bill for a $100 bill.  He waved that bill above his head and said, “Thank you, Paul!”  Papa’s chin dropped, his eyes grew big and he reached into his back pocket, pulled out his billfold and looked inside it. How could he have made such a mistake!  Everyone, even us young grandchildren, laughed.

            Papa’s look of astonishment changed to confusion, when Uncle B drew a breath and held up Papa’s $20 bill.  Now, decades later, we grandchildren still laugh about the look on Papa’s face.

            Husband’s dad, aka Grandfather, was shocked by a gift he received one Christmas.  He had no hint of what was inside a beautifully wrapped package, but he was prepared for a surprise because no name was written on the gift tag to show who gave it.  Grandfather’s children, in-laws, and grandchildren sat gathered in his and Grandmother’s living room, and only the giver knew what was in the package.  Young grandchildren sat close on the floor by Grandfather’s feet, and he took his own sweet time to open the mystery package.

            Grandfather laughed aloud when only he saw the gift:  an xx-large white cotton bra embellished with sequins and red ribbons.  Holding both straps, Grandfather held his gift high for all to see.  Little ones covered their faces; grown ones laughed until tears rolled.  And for many years, we laughed again because that decorated bra was often among the gifts under the Ray family Christmas tree.

            Have you ever gotten a pig’s tail for Christmas?  When Husband was young, his maternal grandfather and uncles traditionally killed hogs the week of Christmas so a fresh pig’s tale was often wrapped and under the Christmas tree for the Powell family Christmas gathering.

            I don’t have a pig’s tail, but there are some things around our house that will be surprise gifts. As we celebrate this holy day, let’s bring laughter to Christmas 2020.


One Response

  1. Really enjoyed your column this week!


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