The Gifts of Christmas–and a Gift for You!

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One pioneer woman wrote that the most meaningful Christmas gift she ever received was a rain parasol as it offered her protection.  While most of us wouldn’t attach such sentiment to an umbrella, I’m sure we all have received a gift or gifts that stood out from all the rest.  Here’re mine:

At age eight I received a most meaningful gift . . .

It was a big beautiful doll with blond hair and eyes that opened and shut. In an effort to get on Santa’s “good” list, I cleaned my room and did my chores.  Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I even did everyone else’s chores.  When I opened the box Christmas morning and saw two big blue eyes staring back at me, I was elated.  I felt as if I could make every dream come true if I wanted it bad enough and was willing to work for it.

At eleven I received a most meaningful gift. . .

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It was an angora sweater. A year earlier, I had received toys for Christmas, but I had finally “graduated” to clothes. Wearing that sweater made me feel so grown-up.  More than that, the gift told me that others saw me as grown-up, too.

At seventeen I received a most meaningful gift . . . .

It was a heart-shaped necklace from my boyfriend.  I believed at that moment that love would last forever.  The chain snapped less than a week later and we broke up soon after, but I learned that some things are meant to last for only a short time and that we must enjoy them while we can.

In my twenties I received a most meaningful gift . . . .

Our oldest son was born just before Christmas. It was a gift that both elated and humbled me. This baby—this beautiful gift from God—was solely dependent on me and I wanted so much to be the perfect mother.  But as I walked the floor that Christmas day trying to comfort a colicky baby, I realized the futility of that goal. I soon learned that no child ever said that his or her mother was perfect, only that she was the best.

In my thirties I received a most meaningful gift . . . . 

The Christmas I most remember during that time was a bleak one.  My husband’s company was on strike and we were down to our last fifty cents.  As I filled our three children’s stockings with nuts and oranges, I dreaded the following morning when they would see how little Santa had left.  Much to my surprise and delight not one of them complained. If anything they seemed to be more appreciative of the few gifts they did receive.  That was the year I learned that sometimes less is more.

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I received the most meaningful gift during our saddest year. . . .

Our oldest son died a few months before Christmas and I couldn’t even bring myself to put up a tree.  I cried most of that day and I don’t remember what presents I received, but I do remember one important gift.  For it was that year that I learned that we’re stronger than we think we are, and though we lose much with the death of a loved one we can’t possibly count all the blessings that remain.

I don’t know what gifts are in store for me this Christmas, but I do know this; the gifts that touch our hearts are the ones that stay with us the longest.

Now it’s your turn.  What special, memorable or meaningful gift did you receive?

Speaking of gifts, the nine authors of A Pioneer Christmas put together a recipe booklet and we’re giving it away free.  It’s our way of thanking our readers for making our book fly off the shelves!  To download your free copy just click the Pioneer Christmas  cover (I dare you to try the pigeon pie!).   You might also want to take advantage of the special sale on A Bride For all Season featuring Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher,  Debra Clopton and me!

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Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

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Margaret has published more than 46 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

17 thoughts on “The Gifts of Christmas–and a Gift for You!”

  1. I loved your post today. Your gifts and the meanings they had for you….I really enjoyed reading about them. The loss of your oldest broke my heart. We never know what will come in this lifetime but joy and sadness will certainly be faced. I received a blue eyed doll at about the age you received yours. I loved her the moment I saw her in the store and wanted her so badly. Well, she didn’t come home with me then, but there she was Christmas morning. That was fifty years ago and I still have her. Special gifts are just that, special!

  2. Hi Melanie,
    Thank you so much for stopping by. You’re so right; we never know what joys and sadness will come our way. We just have to hold our loved ones close while we can.

    How neat that you still have your doll; I wish I had kept mine. Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.

  3. My most memorable Christmas gift was my son. He arrived on December 4 in the middle of a huge snowstorm. He was my first child and I found how deep a mother’s love can be. I learned about the grace of God in a big way. He was a big baby. I’m talking a few ounces shy of 10 pounds. I had a very difficult delivery to say the least. But God helped me through that and gave me a wonderful baby boy. He’s 40 years old now and I still love him as fiercely.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  4. Hi Linda, that was a big baby–makes me hurt just to think about it–but oh, what a blessing! There’s nothing quite like the love a mother has for her child. That’s a gift that goes both ways.

    Wishing you and your family the merriest!

  5. Hi Margaret – I loved these. I think the most memorable gift I’ve received is when my kids, as children, made me a TV commercial! My hubby spliced it into a video and they made me sit down to watch. There were numerous “products” they were selling… in their pj’s. It was adorable.

  6. Oh Margaret, what a beautiful, heartfelt post. I have tears. God bless you and yours always and forever. Of course the Christmases of my childhood were all memorable: getting a life-size Patty Play-pal. The next year a Barbie doll. Shiny patent leather pumps (no straps, yay!) with French heels. Oh, I slept with them in my bed…

    But my best big-girl Christmas was the same one we had welcomed our newborn daughter three weeks earlier…she even had a teensie red velvet dress. But four days before Christmas, she got sick and was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. My perfect little world–we also had a two-year old son, exploded. For three days and nights came endless worries and prayers for deliverance.

    On Christmas Eve we heard glorious news: not only would she live but she would suffer no residual damage. Wow. (Gotta brag a bit: Later on, competition-level pianist, honor student, all-star county basketball player, homecoming princess, cum-laude in college, now a lovely wife and mother of my two-year old sweetheart…)

    I hear you, how we don’t ever know what real strength we possess–especially with the Lord by out side.

    Love to you and George and the family, and may 2014 be the best year ever!

  7. Tanya, what a scary experience! Nothing makes a parent feel more helpless than a seriously ill child. Thank God everything turned out all right and that your daughter continues to bring you such joy.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and may the New Year bring you all God’s blessings

  8. Thank you so much for you wonderful heartfelt post! I laughed and cried! I have had many wonderful Christmases but there are some that stick out! when I was eight I think my parents had a good year finically because when my brother and I woke up the next morning we saw the biggest mound of presents for both of us.

    Then I think my next best Christmas was when I was 23 my fiancé (soon to be husband) at the time came with me and my family for Christmas in California, on Christmas day he took me to Disneyland and asked me to marry him in front of the castle and fireworks.

    Then of course each year our child was born always made Christmas more exciting and special. But this year has been harder. We missed carried our last child at 4 months and then we just lost another one a couple of weeks ago. Even though that one was early one it still is hard to know this Christmas we have lost two babies in one year. We are looking for the positive this year and loving on our 4 year old an 2 year old. Even in those times we are hanging on the joys we have built up until now.

  9. Oh, Cori, you made ME cry! I’m so very sorry for your sad losses.

    Happy memories really do help us through tough times and the two special Christmas memories you shared are precious. Your husband sounds like a keeper.

    I pray that God heals your heart and showers you and your family with His many blessings this coming New Year.

    Take care and stay strong.

  10. Those are wonderful memories – including the lessons we learn from our hardest times. My best Christmas memory is when my parents, who were dirt poor farmers, saved enough to take us 4 kids to Disneyworld. I still don’t know how they did it, but that is my greatest memory – a trip, not gifts. 🙂

  11. Hi Susan, I like to give the gift of experience rather than things, and that’s what I try to give my grandkiddies. It’s what you do that you remember; not what you get.

    Thank you for sharing and have a Merry Christmas!

  12. I wrote something and it was so depressing, I had to erase the whole thing. This is a happy time for all of you and I would have spoiled it.
    Sorry. Merry Christmas to all and with big hopes that 2014 will be a GREAT year for all.

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