An acquaintance of mine has fond memories of a Christmas in her youth and a tradition that developed in her family. Finances were pretty tight that year, and her mom and dad had tried to prepare their seven children for a smaller haul that year. They did not want to squelch the excitement of children for Christmas, but they were also fearing the disappointment which might come Christmas morning. Unbeknownst to everyone in the family, her older brother hatched a plan to make Christmas just as enjoyable for everyone. It also reminded them of the truly important things to remember at Christmas time. The children were forced into age order-youngest to oldest as always–each jockeying to get a view of the Christmas tree and all the presents left for them. Each rushed into the room and someone stepped up to help hand out everyone’s gifts. Even mom and dad were surprised as the piles seemed larger than they remembered. As gifts were tapped, shaken, and measured, someone began to notice there were many gifts from Santa’s reindeer.
“Hey! This one says it’s from Dasher!”
“I got one too! Only from Rudolph!”
This continued as people smiled and laughed. Finally, youngest of all tore into the gift pile and it went around the room. Curiosity got the best of most, and what came to be called “Reindeer Gifts” had to be opened. Laughter followed as each member of the family opened up the curious gifts. One found their other shoe. Someone found their old sweatshirt.
Each laughed as they noted feeling frustrated earlier this week they had not been able to find this particular item. They did not know it had been taken by the reindeer, carefully wrapped, and hidden under the tree.
Surprise and laughter moved some to tears as they considered the funny gifts! More joy filled the room as each rejoiced in the love of family and laughing together. Other years were not so tight financially, but Reindeer Gifts continued to come. It became a thrill to see what you could steal from your siblings or parents (without them noticing) and get it wrapped and under the tree. Pretty soon, everyone was in on the gag. Every Christmas became a time to chuckle and laugh at self and each other–tricked again!
“That is too funny! How did Dancer get this from me?”
Getting a Reindeer Gift is kind of like getting underwear for Christmas. When you feel the twinge of disappointment in not receiving what you may have wanted, you come to know the real reasons for celebrating Christmas. You remember Christmas is about giving gifts. It is about the joy of families and creating great memories. Most especially, Christmas is about remembering the First Christmas when God gave His Beloved Son. Then, it is remembering Jesus Christ gave His life for each of us. This is what Christmas is all about. When I look under our tree this year, I expect to see some wonderful Reindeer Gifts. I know I will smile when I open it. I will smile even more when my family opens the ones I am sure will be there for them. Then, I will remember the true joy Christmas brings to me! I love Christmas for the joy of happy memories, loving family, and feeling the Spirit of God and His Son Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!