Well, blog-readers, doesn’t another Saturday whizz into existence when you’re busy doing stuff? There I was, having a sleep-in; the Old Boy had gone out garage-saling; the Wonder Dog was taking the opportunity to stretch out in the Alpha male’s spot on the bed, and I was dreaming about Archie Roach having trouble with his new job as a radio announcer. (I refuse to explain the machinations of my imagination.) Then Archie, in his lovely gravelly voice, said something about writing blogs and suddenly reality stuck its hairy face in mine.(Or, it might have been the W.D.) Blog day! Again!
Someone recently told me they don’t bother giving presents to their grown-up kids for Christmas. “After all,” she said, “it’s not their birthday.”
A nice young man came to fix something at our house a couple of years ago. We got chatting and somehow he found himself telling me that his birthday is on Christmas Day and no one in his family has ever given him a birthday present. Their thinking is, ‘Why double up?’ If he was my kid, he’d always get both a birthday present and Christmas presents … dagnab it! In fact, I reckon Jesus would be the first to say, Celebrate your son’s birthday! What’s the matter with you people?
One day, when my kids were very little, we saw Santa on his big chair, with kids lining up for a photo on his knee. (My two had recently heard about “stranger-danger” so they wouldn’t go near him.) My son (5) asked how Santa could be there, in a shopping centre in our country town, when he should be back at the Pole getting ready for the big ride. And, how come there were lots of Santas everywhere? (I didn’t ask that question until I was 12, for goodness sake!)
I told them about the original St Nick and how what he did was so nice that all these hundreds and hundreds of years later, people like to remember him by dressing like him and giving gifts and blah blah, hope-I’m-dealing-with-this-okay… They seemed to buy it, so PHEW!
A little closer to home, my daughter (3) said, Why does Santa give out presents? I told them that Christmas time is when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and we always give presents at birthdays… right? She said, Then why don’t we give presents to Jesus?
I told her that the only present Jesus wants from us if for us to love him and to love each other. I said that he’s very happy for us to give each other presents on his birthday and to share in the fun. The 3-year-old said, Isn’t that just like him! Yes, it is.
We’ve tried to model a generous spirit to our children. For example, one year we surprised a family of seven with a baked ham. The father had been out of work. (We’ve never bought ourselves a leg of ham; too expensive.) Another year, another family, it was a small trampoline. The parents had promised one to their kids. But when the little girl needed expensive stuff done for her eyes they had to use the money they’d saved and so, no Christmas presents.
So, even though it’s not our birthday, we still give our grown-up kids as well as our grandchildren, presents on Christmas Day. We unwrap the gifts with great glee and throw paper bombs at each other. When the kids were still living at home, we always had a birthday cake with candles. We’d sing “Happy birthday” to Jesus, and blow the candles out together. And, if that young man was one of us, we’d also have a birthday cake for him.
As for dear Archie Roach…going by his efforts in my dream, I seriously urge him to never consider being a DJ on the radio. Stick to your gorgeous singing, mate.