A friend of mine gave me a bag full of toys last month. It was just a few action figures her son had grown out of — a knight on horseback, a dragon, a couple of archers… In short, exactly the type of toys five-year-old Big Brother loves.
I thanked her, put them in the cupboard for the right time to pass them on to my son, and promptly forgot about them.
A couple of days ago I was searching for Christmas wrapping paper and came across them. It seemed like the right time.
“Do you know my friend Claire?” I asked Big Brother.
“She asked me to give these toys to you as a present. Her son doesn’t play with them anymore, and so he’d like you to have them.”
“Wow,” he said. “Claire’s son is very nice.”
Then he set to playing with them. He gave them all new names, introduced them to his own King, Queen, Knights and Fairies, and I went back about my day.
A little while later, Big Brother came out to see me. He was carrying one of his favourite jigsaw puzzles — a 100 piece puzzle of classic automobiles.
“I haven’t played with this in a long time, have I Mummy?” he asked.
“You can play with it if you want to,” I said. I was cooking dinner, and trying to contain a force of nature cleverly disguised as a 22-month-old boy.
“No,” said Big Brother patiently. “I mean, I haven’t played with it for weeks and years.” (He’s still struggling to understand all these time measurements.)
“I suppose not.”
“Well I could give this to Claire’s son,” he said. “Because I don’t play with it any more.”
I looked down at his earnest expression as he gripped the puzzle box firmly in his little fingers, halfway between clutching it to his heart and offering it to me. And all I could do was give him a hug.
At this time of gift-shopping, feast-prepping, paper-ripping, wine-drinking, tree-trimming, and family-gathering, take just a moment to remember the simple joys of Christmas.
The magic of Christmas isn’t in the money you’ve spent. The magic of Christmas is the joy of giving.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.
Like many bloggers, I will be taking a break between Christmas and New Year’s. Thanks so much for giving me the gift of your time this year, by coming to read what I’ve written. I hope you enjoy a safe, happy holiday season and look forward to catching up with you in 2013.