“I vividly remember my grandmother and grandfather’s home during Christmas time. Christmas lights on the outside of the house and decorations embellishing the yard. Inside – a large tree complete with lights and ornaments aplenty stood in front of a bay window adorned with more Christmas decoration. Underneath the tree was a plethora of presents.
Christmas, when I was 5-years-old, I remember in the back towards the window stood a box approximately 3-foot-tall with my name on it. Of course, my brother and cousins couldn’t help but tease and tell me there is only a small gift inside, and the big box was just a trick to make me think I was getting what I had hoped was inside. But I knew. I knew that the box contained what I had asked for and the anticipation to open that gift was insurmountable!
Christmas Eve finally came, and we could hardly wait to open gifts. After waiting what felt like an eternity, presents were being passed out, and I knew I had to open that big box first. I tore into the paper and there she was – a My Size Barbie wearing a beautiful white wedding dress. The added bonus – I could wear the dress too!
That is the Christmas gift I remember most. What else I remember about that Christmas is my entire family being gathered in my grandma and grandpa’s living room. I remember a lot of laughter and love being shared. But what I can’t tell you is anything else I got that year or how many presents I got in all.
As Christmas approaches, ‘What are you getting your kids for Christmas’ is a common topic of conversation. I have heard an array of things that children are asking for this Christmas along with the outrageous price tags on some of these gifts.
Let me reassure you, Moms and Dads… the price tag on your Christmas is not going to determine your child’s happiness in the end. The price tag is not going to impact the memories made. The price tag is not going to make them feel more loved. The price tag will not replace your presence in the moment.
My mom recently played along by getting ‘pranked’ by Topper, our Elf on the Shelf, as we painted red lipstick on her nose and pretended Topper did this while she was sleeping. These are memories my kids will have for a lifetime.
And this is who taught me all of this – the value of family. The pricelessness of being together. The pricelessness of laughter and fun. When I was a child, my mom, my brother, and myself created some of the best memories together no matter what trial or hardship we were in the midst of. Couldn’t afford ornaments for the tree? No problem! My mom sat down and helped us hand-make ornaments to hang. She worked so hard to provide for us and even if we didn’t get everything, we wanted underneath the Christmas tree, what mattered most was being together.
Now, don’t get me wrong – my stepdaughter and son are getting plenty of things under the tree, but we also celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We also cherish the ability to gather as a family on Christmas day. We cherish the memories and traditions leading up to Christmas day.
So, parents… I just want to remind you – don’t stress if you can’t afford the hot toys of the season. Don’t work every overtime shift in December to afford everything on their wish list. Everyone has their My Size Barbie, but the rest – the rest of the gifts will be a distant memory. No matter whether it is 5 presents or 25 under the tree. The real memories? Those are made.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica Plunkett, 30, of Lumberton, Texas. Follow her on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read Jessica’s back story here:
‘I am pregnant. I know you’re the best thing for him. He’ll thank me for this one day.’: Birth mom unexpectedly shows up to court, surprises couple by ensuring they’ll adopt son, ‘he is the most loved little boy in the entire world’
‘No Jessica, YOU are his mom. I only carried him.’ I became a mom in a courtroom.’: Woman ‘forever grateful’ for bio mom who made her a mother, ‘My son didn’t to my heartbeat from inside my womb, but he’s laid on my chest every day since 3 days old’
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