I never understood it, but it always happened on December 24th. The phone would ring, and I would hear my mother laugh after answering, because on the other end of the phone was my granddaddy, CavanaughFarris, saying, “Christmas Eve gift!”
I remember thinking, “What gift?” There wasn’t an actual gift and a phone call that just said those words seemed incredibly silly to me. I once asked my mom about it, and she replied that her daddy had been doing and saying that as long as she could remember.
The “gift” was actually the call, or sometimes the visit. It was that moment when he stopped to recognize the greatest gift we can have is simply being family and being together. My grandfather, born in1897, had lived through the Great Depression. During that time, about the only gift they had to give was spending time with each other (that and laughter). My mom’s family, the Farris family, certainly knows how to laugh. In fact, a family history book was written called, TheFarris Family, Rootin’, Shootin’, and Tootin’. That should indicate the type of fun these folks can have.
The other thing guaranteed to happen was on Christmas morning. As long as my granddaddy was alive, we always knew the phone was going to ring, sometimes so early we were still opening presents from Santa. At the other end of the line was Granddaddy, as excited as all the children were, wanting to know how long it would be before we arrived at their house for Christmas dinner and gathering around the tree to open gifts with him and Wowo.
Today, I can say I barely remember a single gift unwrapped at their house. Those gifts have long since faded from my memories. But, I can still hear the laughter of brothers looking for the socks their sister always gave them; I can vividly recall exactly what Wowo’s kitchen looked and smelled like as we stepped inside; I can see the faces of my cousins as we talked and played games in the afternoon; and, I can still feel the love and the hugs passed around freely. Those gifts are the ones that stood the test of time–the ones I will treasure always.
This year I will do my best to give the same kind of gifts to my children and the rest of my family. I will enjoy every moment we spend together, knowing the best gifts we can give each other are not material things, but the gifts of love and time. May you and your family enjoy the season, as we celebrate the One who gave us the ultimate gift. And if your phone rings on Christmas Eve…it could be me, carrying on the family tradition.
From our family to yours, Christmas Eve Gift!
Until next year,