This Christmas, I bought a gift — which, if it had been left up to me, I would not have bought — for someone I don’t know well. And today I’m glad I did.
As I bumped around in the snow Friday and enjoyed some holiday socializing, Nancy, who did not want to go, called me. She had just returned home after giving a bottle of wine to a lady who lives alone in our neighborhood only to realize this neighbor doesn’t drink. I drew the assignment of buying another gift and apologizing for the wine.
With the second gift (a small fruit basket from the nearby Hy-Vee Drug Store) in hand, I stopped at this neighbor’s house on my way home.
“Chris, I’ve already re-gifted the bottle of wine,” she said. “I can go next door and get it back if you want.”
I said that wasn’t necessary, wished her a Merry Christmas and headed for the house.
Later, in an e-mail to Nancy, this neighbor said: “Yours was the only present I got this year. I have no family in the area and all of my friends have their own to think of. Never mind that it was a gift I would not use. It was a gift. But then to have Chris come by with fruit because of your thoughtfulness … well, words fail me.”
I’m not a big holiday guy, but that story sums up, for me, what Christmas is really about. Anyone who received more this Christmas than a $12.99 fruit basket — from a neighbor you don’t really know all that well — is fortunate and blessed. And you are doubly blessed if you are with family and friends and aren’t spending Christmas alone.
Count me among the blessed.
No dreaming about a white Christmas
* It’s not the 36-plus inches my friends and former neighbors in Minnesota have had to deal with in the past week or so.
* It was dry and fluffy snow that wasn’t too heavy to shovel.
* It wasn’t really cold out this morning PLUS, I have a short drive and sidewalks on which I can push the snow downhill, which makes shoveling easier.
Still, shoveling snow this morning was a challenge with hands that are a bit bruised and shoulders that are really sore from my first-ever effort yesterday at playing hand ball.
I have a friend — I’ll call him Dave — who knows hundreds of jokes. And he tells all of them over and over and over. Friday, he told me what, for Dave, is a really good joke: Why is Santa always jolly? Because he knows where all of the naughty girls live.
Ho, ho, ho.