We may have seen the beginning of a new holiday tradition in my family with this year's Christmas gifts. I cannot remember when I've had more fun getting together and sharing a laugh than this year at my parents.
After eating dinner, my nieces were eager to open their presents from grandma and grandpa, and we all enjoyed watching them tear into the wrapping paper excitedly. But the biggest surprises were yet to come, when mom and dad gave each of us - myself, my brother and my sister - a special "gift" from our past.
With both parents now retired, they have begun the process of downsizing years of accumulation. As I've written about before, some of the stuff has been sold at rummages, given away or thrown away if it had no value. My parents had a tendency to save sentimental items from our childhood, and over the last year or so as they clean out boxes they've given us some real treats from our past.
Last year at Christmas they surprised me with my favorite teddy bear from when I was a baby. This year they expanded the concept of "blasts from the past" to my brother and sister, and I believe we may have witnessed the birth of a new tradition.
When mom prefaced the giving of the gift with the comment: "If you don't want this, you don't have to keep it.", we knew it would be something interesting.
As the oldest, I went first. It's almost hard to describe the gift if you aren't there to see it. When I was around ten years old, I was involved in a youth choir event called the "Rainbow Express", organized by the Gaither's. It was the story of Noah and other biblical promises of God. When the program was over, mom took a t-shirt I wore that had the emblem of the program, turned it into a life-size doll that looked a bit like me, and had it mounted on a piece of wood paneling. I honestly didn't remember this happening, but there was a Polaroid photograph taken of me standing with this doll. Apparently, mom has kept this doll for the past 30-plus years in her "doll room." This Christmas it was time to give it to me as a gift.
Needless to say, this gift caused a lot of laughs from my brother, sister, wife and in-laws. Lots of comments like - "are you going to cry?" and "what in the world?" Especially when I began to sing one of the songs from the program. It was the song "Begat", and of course, was about genealogy. That brought even more laughs.
My brother Jason was next, and he was hesitant to open his gift. He received two things, one was an old wrestling trophy from 1985, the other was an old toy fire engine he used to play with as a kid. I believe it is die cast - had an extension ladder and everything, and was in great shape. Jason is now a volunteer fireman, so it seemed appropriate that he played with this firetruck when he was a little boy.
My sister Michelle's gift made her girls howl with laughter, it was a stuffed Big Bird doll from Sesame Street that she used to carry around as a kid. Boy, was that thing worn out. I can remember her carrying it, I'm sure there are pictures somewhere of her with it. Now it sort of looks like a dog's old chew toy.
We all had a great time laughing and speculating what each of us might get next year from our past. I think that I can only go up from here.