Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Calendar--Christmas Gifts

There were always gifts for Christmas, but they weren't usually expensive or fancy.  Often gifts were things we would need any way such as socks, underwear, toothbrushes, etc.  My parents tried to provide some fun gifts too.  I remember when all the girls my age were getting Barbie dolls with sets of clothes.  My mother made clothes to fit an inexpensive doll from a craft catalog that you could crochet a dress for and turn into a bed doll.  This doll's legs didn't move, but you could still dress her up and make up pretend stories about her.  A couple of years later I received a Tammy doll.  The Tammy doll wasn't as sophisticated looking.  She looked more like me.  She wore shoes with a small heel rather than the high heels Barbie wore. Her body shape was more balanced and she didn't look top-heavy.  I've always seen myself more as a Tammy than as a Barbie.
When my daughters were young the Cabbage Patch doll craze was in full motion.  I couldn't believe parents were paying $80 just for a doll and kind of a plain looking doll at that.  I was a child care provider and the mother of one little girl I cared for told me of her experience at the store.  Her daughter was her only child and she had a pretty good income being employed by the Civil Service in the Federal Building in our city.  She had already purchased a Cabbage Patch doll for her daughter for Christmas.  She took her daughter with her shopping one day when her daughter spotted a Cabbage Patch doll.  She begged her mother to buy her one.  When her mother said no, she began to throw a tantrum.  Her mother tried to hurriedly checkout with her purchases, but there was a line of customers.  She ignored her daughter's tears knowing her daughter would keep trying to get her mother to buy the doll.  Another customer in line said to this mother, "Just buy her the doll."  The mother couldn't believe that another adult would think the solution to this tantrum was to buy the doll.  She knew buying the doll right then would reward her daughter for the tantrum.  Besides she already had the doll had home as a gift for her daughter. 

My daughters were very patient about gifts.  They didn't mind second hand toys and clothes that were in good condition.  They found joy and pleasure even in inexpensive gifts and in handmade gifts even though they were imperfect.  It would be nice if we could always give the perfect gifts, but life isn't perfect and none of us are perfect so we need to appreciate the efforts and desires others have to please us. 

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