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A Childs's Christmas Giving... A 5-yr-old With 5 Dollars
My daughter, Alexandra, has always been a loving and giving person, even when she was a little girl. One of my fondest Christmas memories is of the year that she did her own holiday shopping.
Alex earned an 'allowance' for making her bed, picking up her toys, that kind of thing. I don't remember how much her allowance was, but it was probably about two or three dollars a week. She also picked up the occasional dollar here and there from Grandma, who loved to sneak dollars and assorted candy into her pockets when Mommy wasn't looking.
One year at Christmastime, when Alex was in Kindergarten, she announced that she wanted to buy her own gifts for the family, stating "I have money, Mommy."
My husband and I thought it was a great idea. My mother-in-law (the sneaking-candy-in-the -pocket grandma) thought it was terrible.
"You're going to make that baby use her own money!"
But Grandma came around when she saw how excited Alex was about the idea.
Since Alex was also making some gifts at school, and her funds were limited, we helped her decide to buy gifts for the people she would see Christmas evening:
-her candy-sneaker grandma,(my mother-in-law, a German immigrant who told it like it was and whom we all loved dearly)
-her two cousins, 10-yr-old William, and 16-yr-old Barry, (who lived with Grandma, and were like big brothers to her)
-and my parents: Grandpa, and Magra (Magra was a name given to my mother many years ago when my niece couldn't say 'Grandma') .
So, one Sunday afternoon in December, with five one-dollar bills in her little purse that looked like a strawberry, we took our little girl, with the big hazel eyes and curly brown hair, to the Dollar Store.
Alex took her mission seriously, and carefully considered what each person would like.
After much time spent wandering in the aisles and looking at almost the entire inventory of the Dollar Store (and if you've been to the Dollar Store, you know they have a HUGE inventory) my daughter had made her selections.
This is what she chose.
-William: A hand held plastic pinball game. "William plays video games alot and this is like that"
-Barry: A box of Lemonhead candies. "Barry likes candy. He always has it in his room and he gives me some."
-Grandma: a vanilla-scented candle. "Grandma likes stuff that smells good."
-MaGra: a small porcelain vase with little flowers "Magra has flowers in her backyard so she would like this."
-and for Grandpa: a writing pen "Grandpa sits at his desk and writes stuff"
The grand total was $5.24. (She even stood at the register and paid the cashier, Daddy giving her a quarter to cover the tax.)
Later that evening, Alex wrapped the presents herself in red and green tissue paper. We helped her tag them with each person's name, and she placed them under our tree.
On Christmas Day, we all went to Grandma's for dinner. My daughter brought her family gifts in her little Elmo backpack.
After dinner we all sat down to open presents. Alex proudly distributed her gifts,'reading' their names on the tag as she handed them to each person Grandma, Barry, Wiiliam, Magra and Grandpa.....She was so excited about playing 'Santa.'
As each person carefully unwrapped their gift, we all looked on, "ooh-ing" and "aww-ing" at how nice the presents were.
Of course, everyone genuinely loved their gift, especially knowing that she picked them out herself, putting careful thought into what each person would like.
Alex was so proud to tell her family that she had paid for the presents with her own money, and even wrapped them. And we were all so proud of her.
My little girl is now 18 years old. She has graduated from High School, drives her own car, and has her own life. The strawberry purse and the Elmo backpack are long gone.
Yet she still looks forward to Christmastime each year, and still carefully considers the gifts that she is going to give.
And to this day, we all remember and hold fond memories of that particular Christmas
When Alexandra was five years old and had five dollars.