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Learning the lessons of giving

My family learned a lesson this Christmas.

Christmas movies and stories usually come with some type of life lesson. The Grinch learned to love and appreciate friendship. Scrooge learned to appreciate the people in his life and care less about material things. George Bailey learned to value life and how important he was to others.

However, in real life, Christmas to most of us is about hustle and bustle, getting the presents bought and wrapped.

This year was no different for my family. We all struggle with money and none of us are rich. My son announced after Thanksgiving sometime that he and his fiancé would only be buying gifts for their son, my grandson. My daughters and I raised an eyebrow that they weren’t at least going to buy something for my daughter’s two little girls but we understood money was tight.

So when shopping for my family, I had already decided that I would buy for everyone, even if it was something small.

My daughters, a little miffed, decided they would not buy anything for their brother or soon-to-be sister-in-law but did concede to buying things for Adam, their nephew.

I told them they shouldn’t worry about what someone is buying you — that Christmas isn’t about how much money someone spends on you and if they wanted to buy something for their brother they should despite his announcement.

They didn’t listen and felt that my son would feel funny if they bought him something and they hadn’t bought him anything. I let it go but I knew my son would change his mind.

Christmas Eve was a quiet one. The wrapping was done and my house was clean and ready for the company the next day.

At about 8 p.m. that night I get a call from my son who said he had gotten a bonus from work and was able to buy “a little something” for everyone.

I laughed.

Then I told my daughters.

One ran to Walgreens that night to find something for her brother. The other had to wait until Christmas afternoon just an hour before her brother and family were due to arrive at my house.

I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head.

On Christmas Day, when everyone was together and all the presents were opened, my kids talked about the rush and the girls admitted their last-minute shopping. My son laughed and apologized. No feelings were hurt and all was well.

I had to do the mom “I told you so” speech.

I feel a lesson was learned this year, just like in a Christmas movie. The true meaning of Christmas isn’t about gifts but about giving. You should give a gift because you care and want to make someone happy not because of what they may or may not be giving you.

The little ones only knew that they had apparently been very good this year and enjoyed tearing open the packages. They didn’t care who bought them or how much they cost. They just had fun and that’s what Christmas should be about — fun, smiles, giggles and love.

Alyssa Schnugg is city editor of the Oxford EAGLE. Contact her at alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com.