“Wanna See My Gifts?”

When I was a kid, and Christmas day was over, we piled our gifts under the tree, a separate pile for each one of us and when visitors came, our mother would say, “Aren’t you going to show them your gifts?” I thought it was fun to do this. We lived in a suburban neighborhood near Chester, PA. and now I wonder if this was a local custom?

As I think about it, our gifts really weren’t that exciting. We got socks, underwear, and pajamas and they were to last us until next Christmas. There was a game or two, the kind you play at a table, not hand-held. 

After Christmas Day and the gifts piled neatly in a row.

After Christmas Day and the gifts piled neatly in a row.

Mom usually got something for the house. There were ties and socks for dad. Everyone was courteous about sitting through ‘the showing.’ When I went to my friends’ homes they showed their gifts, too. Is there less of this done today? Is this a forgotten custom? Maybe “neighborhood” is the answer. Our street was lined with homes and kids. As I think back, I wonder if when we moved to the country, there was less of this because there were no close neighbors.

You could call it “Christmas Show and Tell.”  And although you haven’t showed your face at our door, I’m inviting you to come in and see what

This is it our Christmas gift for this year.

This is it our Christmas gift for this year.

my husband and I got for Christmas. Are you surprised? You probably thought I would show you a new Bible or something to help us in ministry. But no, you are looking at a record player. It’s made by Crosley, a company that’s been in the radio-record player business since 1920.

Yes, it’s like the ones we played our 78’s and 33’s on years ago. High fidelity may not be as high, but today people are even enjoying the old, “soft mellow” sound we used to hear, while hoping for something better to come. I guess you could call it retro or nostalgia and both of these are really popular today. Items like

Vintage bulbs are collectibles.

Vintage bulbs are collectibles.

pocket watches, old phones, aprons, posters, dress patterns from the 40’s, vintage light bulbs, and old books are among the things people are enjoying and prove that sentimentality for the past is in. Some say it becomes more popular during times of great upheaval. Do you think that describes today?

I have to level with you. Something happened that got us thinking this gift would be a good choice this Christmas. One of our sons, Alan, gave his crosley record  2father three old records for his birthday. All three feature the music of dutch band organs which operated in the early 1900’s. Vinyls are back. We had nothing to play the records on. We do now! We read nothing but raves from the reviews given by owners of this player and it was at a reasonable price. So there’s the story of our Christmas gift and what we would have shown you had you paid us a visit.

Music is among the many things that can trigger nostalgia, so can important events, people we care about, and places where we’ve spent time. Thinking about these can bring a bittersweet longing for things, persons and situations of the past. Someone said Nostalgia makes you feel that life has roots and continuity. That explains why items of the past are popular and why at Christmas time everyone works at making memories. They are the best Christmas gifts. Although there is a emphasis on gift giving here, we know the greatest gift is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

8 thoughts on ““Wanna See My Gifts?”

  1. wow…i’d forgotten all about that! we used to do that same thing when i was a kid…put all our stuff together under the tree and then show visitors that came what we got…LOL

    now my husband and i don’t even put up a tree…or decorate either. christmas is so much more than trees and decorations…our gift to each other every christmas is a trip to the adirondacks to spend time with family. and spending time with them is the most valuable present we can have.

    thanks for the fond memories of christmas past!


  2. I remember showing off our Christmas gifts when I was a kid,The first ones to see them were always my Grandparents. My Grandparents always came down to our house on Christmas eve, and sometimes on Christmas Day. I miss my Grandparents and Christmas always makes me think of Christmas celebrations from the past. Thank you for sharing your precious memories of Christmas. I wish you a healthy and Happy New Year.


  3. I miss those times. I remember waiting with excitement for my cousins to arrive and showing them what I had received for Christmas, or going to their houses to see what they got. Today no one seems to care what we get. In fact, they seem to care little for what they receive.
    We put a tree up this year. May be our last. No one has seen it.


    • I wonder, Janis, if you hit on the reason for not showing gifts. It is a rather sad commentary, though! Don’t lose your Christmas spirit and remember the true meaning is worth celebrating. Thanks for writing!


  4. We had the same tradition of showing our gifts and when we opened them…we would put them on if they were wearable gifts…one on top of the other if we got several of the same. Dad had a way of saving so we would have the best things under the Christmas Tree…left by Santa of course. Christmas is magical…the evergreen tree is an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter. At our church…Ash Wednesday and Easter come from the life of the Christmas Tree…the pine needles are burnt down to become the ashes and the trunk becomes the cross. It all represents and symbolizes our faith and our walk with Him. And music touches that place deep inside that only God has the power to reach. Many songs of love are not seen as romantic to me but rather an expression of my love for the Lord. Thanks Shirl for another great year…I look forward to each new writting of the New Year.


    • Christmas had to fun at your house. I like the idea of wearable gifts being put one on top of the other. The symbolism you remember only helped bring you closer to the true meaning of Christmas. Thanks for writing, Karen. I, too, am looking forward to the “shirlandyous” of next year.


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