When I look back on the Christmas of 2010, I want to remember it as the year my daughter Samantha discovered the real joy of the season: the joy of giving. This year, she started to make some money babysitting, and she used a good chunk of her income this fall buying gifts for the people she loves.
Of course, it wasn’t exactly the first time Samantha had given gifts and displayed her incredibly generous spirit. Last year, she decorated jars with ribbons and holiday paper, filled them with hot chocolate and attached a recipe, then gave them to relatives. The year before, she sewed little mittens for everyone. As a small child, she made things for her stuffed animals.
But this year, at 13, she was a real consumer with real money, and she chose to spend it on the people she loves. She bought stuffed animals for her three new cousins, scented hand sanitizers for her aunts and grandmothers, toys for her little sister, and candy for her uncles. She made fudge for her friends at school and her older cousins. She even bought presents for the little girl she babysits.
Then she brought it all home and wrapped the presents with care, knowing that St. Nicholas soon would be here.
What was so refreshing about Samantha’s giving was that she did it without obsessing over all the things that many of us now do. Will the recipient really like my gift? What if my gift is dwarfed by what the other person gives me? What if I spend too little or too much? Samantha didn’t fret about it. She simply gave.
Most parents are proud of good grades, a well-scored home run in a softball game, or a dazzling performance on the stage. I know I am. But I am positively beaming when I see that my daughter has such a kind and generous spirit.
I will certainly treasure the plastic frame she made for me in school and the custom card that she designed herself. After all, she took a lot of time working on these presents, and I cherish anything my children give me. But the greatest gift she gave me this year was her display of sweet, unbridled generosity.