Friday, 19 December 2014

An early Christmas present

In our household, a couple of years back, we made a decision no longer to give Christmas gifts.

This is not in a spirit of ‘Bah humbug!’ or holier-than-thou anti-consumerism. We just felt we’d reached a limit. None of us earns very much, and over the years we have given each other so many gifts of cheap jewellery and cosmetics, gloves, socks etc. We began to feel the anxiety, pressure and stress outweighing the joy and delight in the season. So we did what all sensible people would do in such circumstances: stopped.

There are a few exceptions. My beautiful mama, in her 88th year, is getting a bit old to change, so we always have a little bag of presents for her. The grandchildren are now old enough to care (a lot) about presents – and what can a child have that is not given? We don’t want to deluge them overwhelmingly, but we do give a little treat.

And we try to reach out and touch those whose lives are lonely, making sure to put something in the food bank, send shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child, give a donation to Surviving Christmas (our local seasonal initiative for people who are destitute or just lonely and poor). And we try to by at least one thing from a crafter.

So.

We got our tree – from a farm where reindeer come to visit at Christmas; so lovely! We chose a Nordman fir. We stood it in the window, so its beauty would bless people walking by. Hebe and Alice decorated it. Perfect (we think).



At least, most of us think it is perfect. But, as night fell, one of us sat looking at it thoughtfully.



How blessed are we to have such a generous, considerate person in our family. In the morning, when we looked at the tree . . .



. . . then looked again a little closer . . .



. . . we saw that, as a special surprise, during the night – just like Santa! – someone had left a present for us under the Christmas tree.




Yes, it is true that Santa is an anagram of Satan. But I think he’s only trying to make his contribution. Thanks, chum.





18 comments:

Rose Humphrey said...

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I thik that cat is related to Rachel's cat....

Deborah said...

Hahaha...that is gross!!

Nice tree though :-D

Pen Wilcock said...

:0D

xx

Suze said...

OH I had to laugh.

I agree with your sentiments though. Every year we go through the no gift thing and not everyone agrees. So the game goes on and on. Our church always has a huge collection over Christmas. Once it was start a homeland school for children caught in prostitution and this year it is to build a medical clinic in Africa. So I try to give to that.

I have another argument to add. AS a diabetic with food allergies I wish people would not give me sweets etc. But I smile and say thank you and find someone who can use them. Many I know have allergies and it complicates the process. Also when did it become necessary to give such expensive gifts? Oh for the days when $10 worth of presents filled my little ones with joy.

God bless your Christmas.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Paula said...

Awwww. <3

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

BLD in MT said...

Oh, my...

Pen Wilcock said...

:0D

xx

Rebecca said...

Oh, my! Who had to get rid of it?

The tree is really beautifully decorated.

Elin Hagberg said...

The mouse reminds me of a story from a friend about when he fed the neighbor's cat for a week and the first when the neighbors were back the cat and the cat was allowed to go out it delivered a mouse to his doorstep. He got really touched that the cat was returning his favor and took pictures of it. His girlfriend's theory was that it was not a present but a threat and that taking a picture of it was quite sick.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Well, today is the Orthodox feast of St Nicholas on the Old Calendar :-)

LANA said...

Haha, cute story. Not a creature was stirring, not even the mouse! We only give gifts to the children/grandchildren in our family, not to the adults. We really don't need anything. Have a Merry Christmas!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello, friends!

Elin - I agree with the man; it was a thank you gift. What else can a cat give? xx

Elizabeth - oh yes (St Nicholas)! Saint Nick, Old Nick - what's the difference to an unregenerate pagan cat like ours? xx

Lana - yes, that poem crossed y mind when I saw the little corpse! Oh dear. xx

Julie B. said...

Your kitty could have eaten his catch but instead decided to present it to you. I think you discerned his thoughts perfectly. Our schnauzer Edith did something similar years ago when she found a pet rat that had escaped a neighbor's house. She caught sight of the rat in our back yard, picked it up with her mouth, gave it a violent shake which killed him instantly, them she daintily placed him right outside our back door as an offering to us. We loved her before she became a rat killer, but even more so after she handled herself so nobly with the intruder. xoxo

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) - yes - we know these are gifts because they are always so beautifully presented.
As you know, I get up early and we all sleep on the floor.
One morning I came downstairs and, in the winter half light discerned a suspicious shadow on the bottom step. Glad I didn't tread on it as it was a large dead rat enticingly laid out as a nice surprise.
And one morning Alice opened her eyes to find a large dead rat laid out artistically alongside her on the floor.
We have chickens next door, you see, and where there are chickens rats surely follow! Similarly compost heaps, of which we always have two on the go.
The time we had the live rat behind the radiator was a little stressful, but we managed to evict it still alive in the end. We're both glad our cats kill rats and somewhat on the side of the rats at the same time. We put live ones out alive. And then the cats kill them. Natural, innit! xx

Anonymous said...

We had a much beloved family cat named Blaze, who lived to be 20 years old. He had a habit of leaving us headless squirrels on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. One summer's day when I was practicing yoga on my deck, I sat up to transition after a lying down pose to the sound of a wet thud behind me. A freshly dead, thankfully intact, squirrel had been offered on my yoga mat directly behind me. Much to Blaze's disdain, I screamed, got up and flipped the mat until the dead thing sailed over the deck to the ground below, just grateful I had heard the thud and not lain back down on top of the corpse! Blaze, however, was blatantly taken aback by my obvious lack of gratitude and could hardly look at me the rest of the day! I miss him.
DMW

Pen Wilcock said...

:0D

xxx