What Do You Want For Christmas?

December 10, 2017


What are the best gifts for mom for Christmas? Ask her, you may be surprised.

My mom was almost forty when I was born. I was not the baby of our large family, but close. My older siblings actually graduated from high school while I was in preschool, so by the time I was a teenager, they were long married with children of their own.

They lived nearby so when the holidays rolled around they were always present.

My mom loved that, spending the holidays together. Even though my dad's seat was empty, the table was more than full with her kids and grandkids. There was laughter, a few sentimental tears, tons of good food and gifts. A lot of gifts.

Back in those days we all exchanged. No Secret Santa or Grab Bag games, everyone gave to everyone else.

The packages were everywhere, spilling out from under the tree, as bags full of them made their way into the home of whoever happened to be hosting that year.

While I have never been a materialistic girl and have always loved giving (there is no greater thrill), I would be lying, if I said that as a child I didn't get excited at the prospect of getting.

Diving into catalogs, marker in hand, making lists for my mom, my sisters, my friends and then my husband, I remember waiting to open my packages with great anticipation. What treasure could be inside?? A Fair Isle sweater, a doll, a walkman, the hottest cassette tape, something sparkly perhaps? Didn't matter, big or small, it was a once a year thrill to open those boxes.

Santa Ornament

So I was always surprised when I asked my mom what she wanted and she said, Nothing.

My gift is being here with you kids, spending the day and the season with my family. I don't need anything else.

It was the most lovely thought...and also the most depressing.

To a teenager and a young adult listening to her, a vibrant woman, saying that she didn't need anything but being with us, sounded terrible. It was what my ninety year old grandmother used to say.

And she really didn't need anything. She was old. She didn't leave the house much. She wore a housecoat and didn't cook anymore. Her home decor was cemented in place since the 70's. She had several pairs of slippers, a few too many bed jackets and enough pictures of her grandkids to wallpaper her studio in my aunt's house several times over. She literally needed nothing.

So we bought her chocolate covered cherries. Every year. For over a decade.

And I'm not even sure she liked them.

But my mom? She went out, she decorated and dressed. She was a young and beautiful woman who would look great in something new. She loved sparkly things, too. Sure, she had a great job and shopped for herself often, but it's different when you receive something as a gift.

When she said she didn't need or want anything, but being with us, it made me sad, like she was giving up on life, on the idea of unexpected surprises.

And on the magic of Christmas itself.

Little did I know that it wasn't my mother who had lost the magic, but I who didn't truly understand it...how it changes as we grow, how the season and what we hold precious and dear about it morphs as we do. And now, on the eve of fifty, I find myself on the other side of that same question and I predictably respond with a reply I know all too well.

Nothing.

My own Christmas magic no longer comes in a box.

Rustic Christmas Decor In The Living Room

The kids give me that familiar blank stare. Then they say, Really? Come on, nothing?

Well, ok, not nothing.

I want exactly what topped my mom's list all those years ago. I want to spend the season with my family. I want to listen to carols and sing loudly around the house, I want to shop with my kids, I want to attend parties with my husband and friends. I want to sit quietly by the fire and stare at the tree. I want to visit my mother and hold her hand, while a young Natalie Wood quietly discovers her own Christmas magic in the background. I want time to craft, to bake and to go look at lights.

I want a house full of laughter, a few sentimental tears, tons of good food and a lot of presents spilling out from under the tree...for them.

Cottage Style Christmas Decor

Of course, their reaction to my response is much like my own all those years ago. They hate it. They tell me I'm boring and old, that they want to shop for me.

So I tell them I get it.

And if there happens to be something in the pile under the tree for me on Christmas morning, well, I guess that'd be okay, too.

As long as it's not a box of chocolate cherries.

Sorry grandma.

What do you want for Christmas?


More stories? Oh I've got them!
What Other People Think Of You Is None Of Your Business



50 comments:

  1. I remember my mother saying, "Nothing" and I didn't get it. I do NOW, of course. And she always got chocolate covered cherries but only because she really loved them. :) What do I want? Better health, a happier country, a safe world. And maybe some Almond Roca, lol. Merry Christmas!

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    1. All wonderful wishes, Betty! Wouldn't it be lovely if we could just go out and grab it all at the store?? If only...Merry Christmas and I hope you get that Almond Roca!

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  2. Oh Kim you and I are so much alike. I feel the same exact way and experienced almost the same kind of thing when we asked my mom growing up. Now my girls ask me and I say the same thing... Nothing. They say come on mom you must want something and I tell them just their undying love is enough and they laugh and tell me then they will get me socks and underwear!!!! There is always something special from them under the tree for me without asking for anything and that is what makes it special for me. They think about me and what I like and pick out something I would love. I love that about Christmas gifts from them. The surprise and the amazement when I open up a gift and it is perfect and something I do really want and love. The fact they came up with something on their own and they use their hearts to really think about what I like or love makes my heart happy. Thanks for sharing this I really felt like I could have written the same story.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Haha...socks and underwear, that's so funny. They tell me that, too! They love shopping for me, must be a girl thing and I love whatever they pick out. They have good taste, but do I need any of it? Nope. I am just happy to have them home with me and still interested in hanging out with their old parents! Enjoy this Christmas in your new home with all those girls!! Including that pup...xo

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  3. I agree with you and I have to laugh at the chocolate covered cherries. My dad still gives them to the three of us every year. I don't think any of us like them, although I'll admit they used to by my favorites - back when I was in high school. I actually thought about them today and hoped he wouldn't buy us any. Thanks for the memories.

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    1. That’s so funny!! I think about those chocolate covered cherries every Christmas. I guess they were considered quite decadent back in the day. I know my mom always had them at the top of the list and we had to go to a special store to get them. They wrapped, too. I never really liked them, those cordials were just too sweet for me. Candy canes were my favorites!! Merry Christmas.

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  4. This is such a sweet story, Kim, and a really pertinent topic. When we reach middle age, we feel we really do have all of the things we need for our home and personal lives. And if we want something - -we can buy it ourselves. I know a lot of people are like that, but it makes our kids and family very frustrated.

    I've received many gifts that so 'weren't me.' Perfume I hated, jewelry that was not my style, things for my home I wasn't crazy about...it's sad to think that someone put thought and money into these gifts. So, I just tell them now, "Well, you know me. I love everything! Candles, kitchen gadgets, makeup, cozy socks, books, etc." Actually, I think there is very little I don't like unless, it becomes a specific matter of taste.

    I hope you get exactly what your heart wants for Christmas! I know at some point I can say I don't need anything, but we know, some people need to give. :)

    Jane xxx

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    1. Good point, Jane. You're right, some people do need to give ~ that's their joy ~ and most people love direction, since they want to give a gift that you'll love. It's expensive and requires time to pick out. I try to keep that in mind, but that NOTHING really does roll off the tongue more and more with each passing year. Maybe I just need to say, whatever you pick out will be lovely! Merry Christmas! xo

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  5. I still have to think up a list. I love to receive gifts, but the best gift is the joy of giving gifts to my family!

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    1. My kids and husband are still waiting for my list. At some point I think they give up and just buy me what they want. I actually like it better that way. They come up with some very creative ideas!

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  6. Well written Kim. My dad said the same thing long ago and like you I didn't understand. He is gone and now I understand. Like you what I want doesn't fit in a box! Season's greeting's to you and I hope all those wishes of your's come true.

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    1. Thank you! I think our parents are always way smarter than we give them credit for being. Too bad we don't realize that earlier. Human nature, I suppose. Happy Holidays to you and your daughter, Ronda!

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    1. Excellent, Cindy...Merry Christmas!

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  8. Sweet post, Kim! Like you, I love to give gifts, to find the something special that I think will please. As for myself, sure it is fun to get gifts, but the real gift is time together. My husband and I only exchange gifts that will fit in our stockings. Lately I've said just give me a happy mood. Let me decorate, sit by the twinkling lights of the tree, spend time with family and friends. Those are the gifts of my heart!
    Happy Holidays to you!

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    1. Sounds like a dreamy Christmas wish list, Sarah, filled things on my list, as well. My husband loves to pop things in my stocking. I've put candy and small tools in his and he puts sparkly and shiny in mine. I think I've gotten the better end of that deal! πŸ˜‰Merry Christmas!

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  9. Makes me rethink my “oh nothing”.
    Strange I am just now reading this from you . . .
    A few days ago I thought, “why do I always say nothing or say, just a card is fine.”

    And wondered if my “nothing thoughts” robs my family of the joy of giving . . .

    So my answer the other day was a “top of the line fry pan . . . one I can cook up part of the
    meal on top of the stove and take the same pan and finish the meal in the oven.”
    My daughters response was, “really mom . . . a fry pan?”
    So then my answer was “a trace my ancestry kit. . . .”

    I don’t expect these things . . . and I certainly could purchase both on my own . . .
    but it is fun to think . . . maybe there is a surprise in the works.

    I wonder . . . might be chocolate covered cherries!

    It makes me feel selfish or something.
    I am so much more comfortable giving, than I am “getting!”
    And there hasn’t been a time when there weren’t surprises for me under the tree too.

    Another enjoyable post Kim!

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    1. My kids say the same thing when I finally come up with something, Lynne! They usually ignore me and they buy me what they want and I always love it. You're right, there's something exciting about a surprise in the works...and I hope you get one this Christmas! xo

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  10. I tell my daughters the same thing, that I have everything I need, but for years it’s fallen on deaf ears. So I told them I want experiences.......with them, just spending time with them, like dinner and a movie. So for the last few years I’ve experienced a “Pink” concert, a Bruno Mars concert, a “Paint & Sip” session, etc. We have so much fun and plenty of laughs, I love opening my gifts to see what they come up with next!

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    1. I love that idea, Rhonda! And your girls sound very creative. I hope you get another adventure under the tree this year. You'll have to let us know what it is!! Merry Christmas!

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  11. PS, I LOVE chocolate covered cherries!! The ones that cost like $3.99 or some ridiculously low price. My mother bought my brother a box every year, but I never did get one. I could never figure that one out!

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    1. Hmm...I say buy a box right now!!

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  12. Yes, yes, yes! We have everything we need at this point in life. Too much probably...

    I just want to be with my people and eat delicious food and smile.

    Your writing always inspires!

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    1. Thanks Stacey! And I hope you get a lot of all of that this Christmas....xo

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  13. I still give my husband chocolate covered cherries, by his request! The clear liquid ones though :-) I too understand completely about the not wanting anything. I buy what I want and need for myself. I feel guilty if I pick something just to give them an answer and then never use it. My husband and I try to find something to share as a gift....like a new bathroom! So, I make a list of things I want and would buy for myself and then I save some money! I want all the simple things you mentioned, that are part of the season (if I could do it all in say, Vermont, that would be great!).It is enough to buy for my family and grandchildren and to have brunch here on Christmas day.

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    1. We’ve done the joint gifts, too, AnnMarie. I like it. Last year, we gave each other a year full of date nights. Rather than spend the dough on a thing under the tree, we saved it and theoretically used it as a motivator to get off the couch and out of the house at least once a week together without the kids. It worked, mostly. But it was fun to brainstorm how we would spend our time…and anytime in Vermont sounds wonderful!! Merry Christmas!

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  14. I think the older we get, we really do just want to be with our families. I love having everyone together at Christmas. And it's always fun to see the holidays through a child's eyes. I wouldn't turn down a chocolate covered cherry though. Especially the dark chocolate vanilla flavored ones I just bought at Walmart. :)

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    1. Those chocolate covered cherries seem to be a love them or hate them proposition. Perhaps I haven't found the right ones yet. Dark chocolate vanilla...hmmm? Might have to try those.

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  15. Oh my Kim, you just made me cry..... This is so beautiful and so from the heart. Bless you and your dear mother. I realized too, though I am more materialistic than you are (hey, Chanel tree for my hubs as a clue), I honestly don't expect any gift this Christmas as well. I have wrapped everyone's presents , but to be honest, I'd be totally fine with getting none. I am VERY HAPPY to GIVE really, than GET, and you made me realize that even more! Thank you dear. You should send this to a newspaper or magazine so others can read this too@!!!!

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    1. Vel, thank you so much for those very kind words about my words. The greatest gift a writer can receive is the knowledge that they’ve touched someone in some way. ❤️ You just made my day! And I hope that Santa brings you all that your heart desires! Merry Christmas!

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  16. I am blessed where I have everything I want and need, too. Of course, if I could literally have anything, it would be to have my son, Phil back. <3

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    1. Melanie, I wish I had a way to grant that wish, my friend....❤️

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  17. I feel exactly the same way, Kim! I just want a peaceful Christmas surrounded by the people I love! Of course if a winning lottery ticket happened to find its way into my stocking I wouldn't throw it away or anything....

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    1. Here’s hoping, Deb! I mean one can certainly enjoy being with family on Christmas day on a private island in the Caribbean, just as much as they can at home, right? πŸ˜‰

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  18. Lovely post, Kim. Like you, my favorite words around Christmas are " I don't want anything" or " I need nothing". My kids always say I am the hardest person to shop for. :)But there was once thing I wanted this year that I have already received and it was to spend two weeks in Spain with my elderly mom. My husband and kids sacrificed to make this happen for me. This year was the first time in 36 years that I did not spend Thanksgiving with them or that is December 11th and the house is not full of Christmas decorations, we don't even have the tree up. But they understand. This year all I wanted for Christmas was some quality time with my mom, just her and me and I have to say I am very blessed to have such a wonderful family that helped me to make this happen. And now I can say from the heart, I want nothing for Christmas, just my husband, kids and grandkids around me. Have a wonderful week! xxx Maria

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    1. Maria, it sounds like a lovely way to spend the holiday season and the gift of patience and the freedom to go can't be topped, I'm sure. I know that the time you spent at home with your mom was also the best gift she could have received this holiday season. And now you're home to spend the rest of the month with them. Enjoy your beautiful family and those grands! xoxo

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  19. Oh, Kim, I love your story. I can't say too much more as it is something along the lines of my next post, but I will say, that I totally agree with you. Isn't it funny how we DO become our mothers? Not a bad thing either, as I see it now. Family and friends around is all I want for Christmas! Now, if someone tied down my hands and said I couldn't decorate that would be a whole different story..Have a happy week..xxoJudy

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    1. You know what, Judy, you’re right about decorating!! Priorities! πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to read your post! Ho Ho Ho!! xoxo

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  20. Well I'm 51 & I guess I'm straddling the fence. I do feel the same way as you in the main things that I want. If I never receive material gifts it would be just as much fun as long as I have my family & we celebrate a real Christmas. It's what I really anticipate.

    BUT I do so love gifts! Really....I keep a running wish list on Amazon to give my husband ideas! I have a gift board on Pinterest......I don't yearn, long or anticipate for specific things like I did when I was young but I do still love beautiful things & am thrilled to be thought of. My family says I'm the easiest to buy for because really, anything gets me excited.

    And here's a little embarrassing story to make my point! My garden club ladies play the dirty Santa game every year. We all bring nice gifts though & I usually WANT every single gift! I do try to be kind & not drool over everyone's gifts or make anyone feel guilty if/when they steal my gift but it is hard with some things! Well this year I had my gift stolen 2 times & ended up finally keeping my 3rd gift(a really luxurious body wash & soap set from a local florist..I love it!). The first two gifts I stole from someone else though; a beautiful large plaid scarf & a sleigh full of Ghirardelli chocolate!. I found out where the scarf was bought because I wanted to buy one myself.

    Before the night was over...the lady who stole the chocolate from me came & said she wanted it to be my gift from her to me. I was embarrassed & told her I really didn't need it but she was so sweet. I've truly enjoyed it! Then.....yesterday at church when I walked into children's wing to teach my class, the lady in charge handed me another gift...the scarf! They lady who had stolen it from me dropped it off for me there. She wrote a sweet note saying she really wanted me to have it. When I saw her later I think she was actually embarrassed. She had gone home,c counted her scarves & found she had 27 then decided she really wanted to give it to me. I wrapped up in during our worship service & was so cozy!

    When we got home my husband teased me unmercifully but then said that really, I am fun to give gifts to. I think one reason may be that I so enjoying giving them myself. I am sad when I give a gift & it's received as if it's no big deal. A gift IS a big deal to me so when I receive on I want the giver to know just how special it makes me feel....no matter how small the gift.

    I'm rambling here but so far this year the smallest gift I received was a little treat bag with Swiss miss hot chocolate & a candy cane. I used it to make a peppermint mocha with my morning coffee, took a photo & tagged my sweet friend on Facebook to show her just how much I enjoyed it.

    I think what I'm trying to say is that there were years when I took gifts for granted. I want to appreciate even small things but more importantly I want the people in my life to know just how much I appreciate them. I think we don't do that enough even at Christmas!

    Love your blog....AND I appreciate the time you put into it!

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    1. Jenny, thank you for you super kind words about my blog. You just made my day! Your story also made me smile! You are truly surrounded by some generous people and they knew how much you would appreciate their gifts and how much they would make you smile. That, to me, is what Christmas is all about! Fabulous and thank you for sharing your story with us! Interaction and comments are the best gift this author could receive! ❤️ Ho Ho Ho!!

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  21. Kim,
    You did it again, you made me cry!!
    What a great post. And I had to chuckle about the cherries. AND of course I feel the same way. This year I did tell the boys, I could use a new bathrobe. LOL, we will see what they come up with, because at the same time I said, "really I just like having Christmas with you, playing games, watching movies, eating popcorn, making treats and going for our New Years Hike."

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    1. Oh no! Didn’t mean to make you cry, Carla…but truthfully as I was proofing it and reading it to one of the kids, there may have been a tear. I hope you get that bathrobe! You’ll have to let me know. Hahaha…And enjoy the hike. That’s the best part. And thank you. xo

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  22. Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean, and I know exactly what your Mother meant...now. That kind of response would have made me crazy back then...just like you. So what do I want for Christmas? A box of chocolate-covered cherries...haha, yes, really. I love them just like my Grandmother did before me. Every year we gave my Grandmother a sack full of groceries and a book of stamps, but inside that sack was a box of chocolate-covered cherries. Funny.

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    1. Chocolate covered cherries seem to be the universal grandmother gift! So funny is right, Florence!

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  23. YES, just give me a house full of Christmas everything...full of my family...and the wonderful feeling that only Christmas can give...Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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    1. Thank you so much, Norma! Merry Christmas to you, too and I wish you a house full of Christmas everything!

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  24. I would be over the moon if even half the things in "My Grown Up Christmas List" song came to pass. SO much loss & sadness in our country & in the world now. For myself, a box of Queen Anne chocolate covered cherries is all I want - like your mother, nothing is wonderful. I'm 67 & struggling to donate many excess things from my home; no need for additions. Thanks. Merry Christmas!!

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    1. Oh Mary, I couldn't agree with you more on all accounts! Here's to getting some of those things on that list...and of course, those cherries!! Merry Christmas!

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  25. Did we have the same families? I'm beginning to wonder if my parents were leading a double life πŸ˜‰.

    Ahhh, the ubiquitous chocolate covered cherries, second only to the infamous fruit cake, seems to have found its way to many of your readers homes. I can't say I've been a receiver or giver of them, but I do remember them being present in our house around the holidays.

    I know how your mother feels. Yet, it's frustrating to hear nonetheless. In an ideal world, no one would have to ask. They would just know. It's so much nicer to receive a gift that we didn't ask for, yet something we love. I'm with the reader who asks for experiences, and the next time she gets Bruno Mars tics I'm stealing them!

    xxx

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    1. Not asking and just getting something thoughtful would be lovely. I think especially as women we are taught to deny…nothing is needed as a gift, oh this old thing when we get a compliment on our outfit, I just threw it together when told the meal is delicious, etc., conditioning is perhaps to blame. Immediate family members know each other well enough I would think to choose a gift. Moms do it all the time, don’t we? However, I think most people want the easy way out and to be assured that they are on the right track. It’s all lovey either way…but I’m with you, experience over items and those tickets sound perfect! Merry Christmas!

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