One of my favorite traditions my family has is when we go shopping for Christmas gifts for each other. I have seven younger siblings and we've never had much money, so a tradition we started several years ago was that we kids shop for each other at the local dollar store. That way all the kids can get and give something affordable.
When most of us were actually *little*, it was easy because we were all super excited about the cheap plastic tiaras and generic crime-fighting action figures. Now we're ages 10-25 and it really, *really* does become the thought that counts. People give each other silly or joke gifts because the amount of people who actually seriously want something from the dollar store is getting smaller. (Also, a lot of people give candy. A LOT.) It ends up being much more about the process of gift giving than the actual gifts.
All the children are allowed to pick out their own presents for everyone. This had led to some fantastically strange gifts over the years. One time, one brother bought 3-foot plastic candy canes for every one of us. Another time, my youngest brother (maybe a year old at the time) got dog toys from two of his older brothers. There was the year the dollar store stocked plastic swords that made swishing sounds whenever they moved. We ended up with three of those swords under the tree, all making noise inside their wrapping paper whenever somebody accidentally jostled the pile of presents. My father narrowly escaped getting a Pirates of the Caribbean night light a few years ago, before that brother changed his mind. As I got older and realized there was nothing really left that I actually *wanted* for Christmas, the game became, "What in the world will the little siblings get me this year?" (It might be straws. Apparently the youngest this year was debating buying packages of straws for people.)
Ahem. To my sister Rebekah, if you've randomly decided to read my blog before Christmas, stop reading here, because I'm about to talk about what I got you this year.
So, yeah. My sister Bekah. I had chosen a gift for everyone else and couldn't think of what she might like. I was discussing it in the store with two other siblings and mused out loud, "Does she want..." I trailed off, but was reminded of an inside joke in our family - a home video that shows 3-year-old Bekah alternately speaking to and speaking as her imaginary friends. "Should I sing... Jingle Bells?" she asks, speaking for someone else, and then she switches voices and responds as herself: "Not yet!" I realized that when I said, "Does she want," it was very similar in tone to Bekah's "Should I sing," so I morphed the line into that quote: "Does she want... Jingle Bells?"
"Not yet!" my siblings both responded.
So, you know what? Bekah's getting jingle bells from me this year. Or, well, a doorknob hanger with bells on it. With that quote written on the outside of the wrapping. It is a ridiculous gift, but it's connected to a silly inside joke, and it will hopefully make her laugh. And that's kind of what our Christmases end up being about anyway.
So for those of you celebrating a holiday this month that involves gift giving, I hope you get gifts that make you smile and make you thankful for your loved ones.