My grandparents on my mothers side of the family had 16 children and 54 grandchildren (not counting great grands).
I always enjoyed going to their house to visit because no matter how big a crowd was gathered it seemed my grandmother had enough time for each and every one.
One Christmas, we went to the grandparents and stayed the night on Christmas Eve. They had a parlor with big double doors. The doors had glass in them and we could see that there was a big Christmas tree and lots of presents underneath. The doors were closed and we were told in no uncertain terms that they would remain closed until grandma opened them on Christmas morning.
We went to bed, people sleeping all over the house and many children sleeping on the floor. I had trouble going to sleep because I was so excited about the presents we would open.
Finally, the night passed and it was Christmas morning. Grandma then went to the parlor doors and opened them and said we could go in.
We were standing around in a big circle that was several people deep. Grandpa was standing by the tree and would hand a gift to grandma. She would call out a name and that person would go get their gift and open it.
I really got excited as I saw the other children open their gift and would show us their little toy. There were yo-yo and balls. They were small but they made everyone happy.
Then, finally, my name was called. I went up and grandma handed me my present. It was not shaped like the other kids toys, it was flat. I was really puzzled and ripped open the paper. Inside was a----------handkerchief. A blue and white handkerchief.
I stood there looking at it and my face must have shown that I was not happy with my gift. My grandmother was watching and then asked me, "John, don't you like your gift"? I was young enough not to be subtle and I said NO.
Grandmother stopped handing out the gifts and began to talk. She said that she and grandpa did not have a lot of money and they had a very BIG family. So all year long she saved change and found a way to buy a gift for everyone in the family.
She went on to say that she bought the gifts because she loved each and everyone of us. The gift was a way she could say I Love you. She wished she could buy bigger and better gifts but she did not have the money to do.
Grandma then asked me if I wanted to give the gift back. There were would be no trade in but if I did not like it I could give it back.
I had listened well to her talk and my reply was, "No, I will keep it, and Thanks".
Indeed I kept the blue and white handkerchief and still have it this many years later.
Now every Christmas I hear Grandma telling me why she gave me the gift and I am reminded to be thankful for every gift I am given.
Grandma's Gift--Is still giving.
I hope you all have a Joy filled and Thankful Christmas.