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Carol Perkins: Gift-giving traditions

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By Carol Perkins

One year when our grandchildren were small, the gifts under the tree were piled to the lowest branch and then beyond.

I was beyond crazy, but I was not alone and will never be. One of my good friends is a grandmother of two small girls, so for all holidays and other special occasions, she admits going overboard with her gifts. When she racked up fourteen for each this Christmas, she realized (with the reminder from her son) that she needed to back off. She wasn't the only one who bought for the children, so they were often overwhelmed.

As long as children are under the age of ten, we can shower them with "things," and they are happy even with the empty boxes. After the age of ten, we don't waste our money. If they don't pick out what they want or make a list, we might as well stand on the sidewalk and pass out ten-dollar bills.

Not too long ago, I could buy clothing for all my grandchildren, surprise them with packages, and they seemed to like my choices. However, they were probably just were being nice because each has his/her style that began in kindergarten.

My Texas grandchildren won't wear anything with a label. Who knew? Eme likes oversized shirts and sweats. I learned this when she picked out a size large when she needed a junior medium. "That is baggy on you," I said. She was glad!

If they don't tell me what they want, I don't buy it. Long gone are surprises under my tree except for the gifts that Papa Guy buys for each because he refuses to look at a list. He brings their wrapped gifts home, and they are drawn immediately to them. Even the adults can't wait to see what he has bought.

We may long for the "old" ways, but they are gone. Money is more fluid now than it was in the days of our great-grandparents when they were happy with an orange or a banana, which seems unreal to us. They tell about getting a doll or a little truck and being thrilled.

In my book Winter Tales, available at ESB in Glasgow and many places in Metcalfe County and on Amazon (note: CM affiliate link), Edgar Martin (age 93) told about his brother not giving up hope that Santa would come, so he hung his long sock on the end of the bedpost and waited. That night, Edgar and his other brothers filled his "stocking" full of corn shucks! What a disappointed boy he must have been.

"We didn't get toys," said Edgar. "We didn't see oranges except at Christmas." One day when my grandchildren are grandparents, I wonder what gift-giving will be like and if the traditions will continue as we know them? I'll have to use my imagination.

Follow Susan and Carol-Unscripted on 99.1 the Hoss in Edmonton on Tuesdays from 10amCT to 11amCT and replay on Sundays from 4pmCT to 5pmCT. Listen to Carol's podcast at for entertaining stories and a replay of Susan and Carol-Unscripted.

This story was posted on 2019-12-11 07:30:45
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