The best Christmas gift I ever received was a used 20-gauge shotgun. I was fourteen. It was the only gift I asked for. In the middle of the night, I snuck down the stairs as quiet as a mouse to survey the pile stacked around the Christmas tree for a long thin box. It wasn’t there. My heart sank.
For the first time in my life, my parents had to coax me from bed on Christmas morning. Unware I had already inspected the presents, my lack of excitement was likely brushed off as typical teenage angst. I plopped my gloomy self down on the fireplace hearth and opened the yearly sweater and socks. I tried to show a veiled sense of gratitude. My dad had to be eating it up.
After all the presents had been opened and the cleanup of wrapping and ribbons being stuffed into boxes had begun, my dad said, “Hey, what’s this?” He held a tiny wrapped present in his hand. It was the exact size of a shotgun shell. I froze. Then looked at him. He was smiling. I grabbed it and tore the wrapping away. It was shotgun shell, a 20-gauge, with a piece of paper wrapped around it. A clue. The answer led me to another clue, which led me to another and then another. I made my way around the house and through the garage. Until finally, the last clue read, “Ask your mom to move.”
Hidden beneath the cushions of the couch was my shotgun. A used Mossberg 500 pump 20-gauge. My days of hunting deer with a side hammer percussion cap muzzleloader were over. I would now have more than just one shot. A luxury I too often required in my youth. I was so happy. This was a well-played Christmas miracle. I thank my Mom and Dad for such a wonderful memory.
In the afternoon, my dad and I went rabbit hunting. We walked fence lines through picked agriculture fields. There was snow on the ground, so we could see where the rabbits had traveled. It was a good hunt, but an even better day. Putting my present to use the day I got it made the gift even more special.
This Christmas, you might think about a creative gift giving experience for someone you care about. I know, simply by reflecting back on this special memory of mine, how treasured such a moment can be. Hiding a gift and having the recipient find it. Wrapping something small in a big box. Purposefully out someone else’s name on the tag and have them in on the trick. Any sort of creative delivery will likely enhance the present.
Many of the best gifts I have ever received weren’t purchased. My grandfather gave me his father’s bayonet from World War I. My uncle welded the first treestand I ever owned. My dad passed down a long-admired handgun. Nothing new from a store could match the meaningfulness of these treasures. Maybe it’s time for you to pass down a family heirloom. I can’t imagine not finding joy in the gift giving experience when you give a loved one an object they know you treasure and now trust them with to carry its importance forward.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you find peace and happiness in the presence of family and friends this holiday season.
See you down trail…
Pic: Adding a creative twist to a special gift will enhance the giving experience.