You wake up one morning to find a beautifully wrapped package next to your bed. Attached to it is a note: “Open me, if you dare.” What’s inside the mystery box? Do you open it?
(Set sometime in my childhood)
Light shines in through my bedroom window, my eyes flicker open, I am surprised I had been asleep, the excitement that had built in me throughout christmas eve kept me awake thinking of all of the wonders christmas day would hold. I sit up and move my feet towards the floor, but they brush of something on the way down. I look down, there is a box sitting at the side of my bed. Its wrapped !
Santa always left gifts downstairs in our living room, and often left my stocking on the door handle of my bedroom, but a gift in my room was never something I had received before. The excitement built within me, I couldn’t wait to go and get my parents before I opened it. I lifted it onto my bed, analysing the size and shape, what could it be. It felt light, limiting the possibilities.
I ripped the wrapping paper, without any care, the box was red. I couldn’t think what the contents could be, the box was so light. I lifted the lid and looked inside…
I was disappointed, I felt someone had tricked me. The box was empty. Perhaps my sister had been playing a prank, and it had worked. My disappointment was soon forgotten, as we went downstairs to find wonderful gifts left by the tree.
After I had opened everything, I felt truly blessed, I had everything I could have possibly have wanted. Following tradition it was time to give my own gifts to my parents and sister. Being so young, my mum always picked something up for my dad and sister, I just handed it over. My gran would usually help pick something for my mum. This year I had saved some pocket money, and with some help from my gran I had managed to save up enough to get my mum the purse that she had desperately wanted. It was going to be perfect. I went upstairs to get it, from its hiding place in my cupboard, with a fresh burst of excitement. I couldn’t wait to see her face as she unwrapped it. I pulled it from inside the cupboard and disaster struck.. the paper ripped, and the purse fell out.
I was devastated, there would be no surprise, it looked as if I hadn’t went to the efforts that I had. She would love it still I’m sure, but it wouldn’t be as perfect as I imagined. I sat on my bed with the red purse in hand, my head fell slightly… and there it was. It was perfect.
I handed over the red box, my mum looked excited. As she opened it her eyes lit up, her face spoke a thousand words. She hugged me and thanked me, and in that moment not only had I forgotten about all the wonderful gifts I had received, but I realised that the suspicious little box at the side of my bed hadn’t been empty at all. It contained a lesson.. a reminder.
Christmas is not about receiving all these wonderful presents. The true wonder of christmas is about giving. No matter what you spend, no matter how rare the gift, the act of giving and the effort it takes, mixed with genuinely making someone so very happy.. that is christmas, and I could see it in my mums eyes.
I turned to my sister, she looked on in disbelief, and I could tell… she had seen that box before.
A very late merry christmas, and a happy new year.