My mom has always done an amazing job of creating for us three children the sort of Christmas morning that could come out of a Lifetime movie or be featured in the background of a commercial for hot chocolate. When we were little, these Christmas mornings were the stuff of dreams. Even into adulthood I was impressed by how the gifts just seemed endless: a gift-wrap avalanche across the hardwood floor. (There's a strategy, you know, to creating that picturesque Christmas morning, and it involves a Tetris-like organization of presents.)
Christmas 2010 didn’t fall short in sheer number of packages. My baby sister is 14 - that funny age where little is more important than the contents those gifts promised, so I think we keep it up for her. But even as I was unwrapping and saying thank you and feeling very appreciative of the whole thing, I found that my real focus was on sharing occasional smiles with my significant other; laughing to myself at the impeccable process my dad has mastered over the years for dealing with the discarded paper, boxes, and bows; and marveling over how comfortable my brother’s girlfriend (now fiancée) seemed with the whole ordeal.
One thing I found myself overlooking: the gifts.
When I think about how Christmas mornings have evolved for me, I realize the real magic for me is the fireplace; the rawhide chews we give to all the Labradors (my parents had four) to give them something to do besides work their way from person to person begging for validation; the full-spread breakfast my dad makes each year.
And so after Christmas 2010, I pulled my mom aside and proposed the following:
“What if we made next year the No-Gifts Christmas?”
She laughed and gave the response most obvious to us all:
“You know your little sister won’t go for it.”
(Baby Sis scored an iPod touch, almost a closet’s-worth of new clothes, and tickets to a Colts game.)
“Fine. She can have gifts. But what if we did No-Gifts for the rest of us?”
“Okay.” And then in classic Momma Goral style: “maybe we can all take a trip instead!”
Now you’re thinking.
So we’ll see, come November/December, how it all plays out.
I’ll have to remind Momma-G around about August, because that’s when she starts Christmas shopping.(Recreating the front of a Hallmark card every year takes time, you know.)