Written by Donnie Angerman
When Travis was younger he had a tradition of giving his grandfather a bunch of silly gag gifts in the same box that also contained the “real gift”. To be honest, I think my dad may have started this tradition by doing it first to Travis. No matter who started it, the unwrapping of Grandad’s present was always a lesson in patience. The main gift was always the same, a calendar of wooden boats on the Chesapeake Bay.
Travis would always get very excited just planning what he wanted to put in the box. Then came the day that I would give him about $15 dollars and take him to the dollar store to buy the gag gifts. He would almost be giddy as he searched out the gifts that he thought would make grandad laugh the hardest. Sometimes it would include a little girl doll, or maybe a hair barrette because he knew that that grandad barely had enough hair to even comb. Sometimes it would include a toy gift that he knew grandad would let him have and play with on Christmas morning. No matter what these things ended up being, it was always silly and would make Travis laugh when grandad opened it.
Wrapping these gifts was another lesson in patience. Travis had to wrap each gift individually and then place them in a big box, in a specific order. The calendar always went at the bottom of the gift, forcing granddad to open all of the gag gifts first. Travis would also throw into the box whatever was handy – small bits of paper, empty tape dispensers, foam packing peanuts and more. Anything that he thought would make his grandad laugh, he would add to the box.
The opening of the gift was something that required a lot of patience on the family’s part. Everyone knew what to expect, even grandad but we all would sit and watch this unfold on Christmas morning. Granddad would always chuckle at the things contained in the box, but Travis would be the one laughing the hardest.
I think of the Advent as a season of hope and waiting. During this season we celebrate and cherish all of the smaller things as we patiently wait for the greatest gift of all. We already know what the end result is, Christ being born on Christmas day but it does not diminish our joy of receiving such a special gift. So just like grandad opening his gifts from Travis, he knew what the end result was going to be but he enjoyed the journey to get there. I hope that we all can slow down and enjoy the precious memories that this season creates for us.
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