The Ultimate Christmas Gift


As I get older, there are very few “gifts” that I look forward to during the Christmas season. I mean, I’m 40 and whenever I want something, I go get it. I want the new Batman movie, I buy it. I want a new gadget, I go buy it. Why wait until December 25th? Right? So I’ve been told that I’m very difficult to buy for…and I’m okay with that. I try explaining to my wife that I already have everything I could really ever want, and I’m all good. I have a healthy family, I have a great career, I have a wonderful, supportive wife…so life is really, really good!

But there is one gift that I always look forward too at Christmastime, and this year it has already been given to me. Let’s flashback 4 years ago. My daughter was an infant. My son was only 2. It was Christmas morning when I finally couldn’t wait anymore. I went upstairs around 9am and nudged Christopher awake. “Santa was here!” I told him. He rubbed his eyes and sat up out of bed. I held his hand as I guided him downstairs. As we got to the bottom, he could see the tree and all the packages. His eyes got wide and he grinned this amazing smile and then he turned and hugged me.

My wife was videotaping this whole event and just thinking about it has brought tears to my eyes. Because, you see, Christmas isn’t about gifts or lights or Santa. It’s about my kids. And the feelings it brings to them. And that look in his eyes is undescribable. And the hug was the perfect gift.

This year, my daughter has already given me her gift. Ava has been taking dancing classes. She took the classes last year and I could have sworn she had no interest in it. Until the recital…and then she got so into it and so excited that she wanted to do it again! So she is, and she has recently started showing us her dance moves at home. A part of the routine she has been practicing involves skipping. Now Ava was a slow walker and is about as clumsy as any little girl can be. So for her, skipping is a huge deal. So the other night, she was showing me her skipping technique. She would skip from one end of the living room and back. She did this for 15 minutes, laughing and flipping her hair back and forth, hopping from one leg to the other. It was amazing to watch and the entire time she was smiling and having so much fun! I was videotaping it and as she got closer to me, I looked at her eyes and I saw that gleam that Christopher had when he saw those presents under the tree and I realized…I have my gift already! My perfect Christmas gift has already arrived…and it was totally unexpected.

So I don’t really need anything under the tree this year. I already have the best gift I could ever ask for. But it will be fun to see the kids attack the presents under the tree again this year and it will always bring a smile to my face remembering that one hug that I got so many years ago. And I’m sure I will get plenty more! But that one was special. It’s the gifts from the heart that are the ultimate Christmas gifts…and those always come with a smile and a gleam in the eye. And that is truly all a Dad could ever ask for!

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This entry was posted in Family Life, Kids, Marriage, My Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Ultimate Christmas Gift

  1. RUTH ANN says:

    Well, I was really comfortable here on the couch, now I have to get up and get some tissues.

  2. dammit Alan…made me all misty eyed five minutes before a meeting. And got my biological clock ticking.

    Cue Marisa Tomei!

  3. heather says:

    Lovely story, Alan. But consider this. My brother is like you, if he wants something, he just buys it. He is also very generous to me at Christmas, and other times of the year. So I want to get him something special every year (birthdays are just as hard) and I always feel like a failure. He never says anything and always seems grateful for whatever I get him, but I think to myself, if he wanted this, he’d have already gotten it. I’m just telling you how I feel on the flipside of the coin. Yeah, I know he loves me just ’cause I’m his sister, but I still feel how I feel.

    It’s true…we guys ARE hard to buy for!

  4. mandy says:

    So sweet! You will have to bring the video of Ava’s recital next time you are in town.

    What’s Christopher’s odd look for? Is he mad that you had your noise-canceling headphones on while he was reading you his Christmas list?

  5. Amber says:

    One more thing I have to look forward to. I can’t wait to experience these moments! It is a beautiful post, Alan, and you are a beautiful person. I love you!!!

  6. Amber says:

    Hey, I just got my big present, too! Chris installed an Aquasana in our kitchen sink so I can have filtered water without hurting the environmenet:) He also got a glass water bottle for me so I can take water with me without injesting the harmful dioxins in plastic bottles! I know, I’m a dork, but I think this present is Super COOL!!!! Love you!

    Wow. You know you’re old when your youngest sister is getting excited about a water filter…

  7. Awwwww… you made me get all teary eyed. Yes, it is EVERYTHING to see happiness and joy in the eyes of your children. I hope you have many more special moments like that. I know you will …….

    Usually happens once every day!

  8. Blah la Blah says:

    That is so very sweet and very well said. Kids really are the best gifts ever and all the little magical moments they bring.
    Merry Christmas!

    Thank you! And the same to you!

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