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My View: The joy and anticipation of opening a gift

By Marge McMillen

Isn’t it fun to receive a wrapped gift? What could be in it? It piques our curiosity and the eager anticipation of answering that question is probably as much fun as receiving it. The mystery of the unknown brings a joy all its own.

I’ve had a lifetime of receiving gifts, almost all of which I’ve loved, but there are a few that really stand out.

The first one I can remember was a doll I wanted more than anything, but was advised there was a Depression on, and maybe Santa wouldn’t be able to get me one that Christmas. Heartbroken, I accepted the news and was gratified to find a wrapped coloring book and crayons, along with a book of cut-out paper dolls under the tree.

Then there was another. My heart was bursting with wild anticipation and was not to be disappointed. In spite of the Depression, Santa had so loved me that he had found a way to grant my wish.

I still remember looking into the doll’s blue glass eyes that opened and shut, and marveling at the tiny mouth into which an accompanying bottle could be inserted. She could drink water and wet her diapers, open and close her eyes just like a tiny baby, and I was her mommy at the age of 6.

Marge McMillen.

The next Christmas, my Uncle Sam gave me a memorable gift. The same eager anticipation was not to be wasted. Opening the present, I was astonished to see a pair of gold satin pajamas. Gold satin! No longer did I have to dream of being a princess. Now I was one.

Fast forward some years and I am now married and had just given birth to our first baby. My husband came to visit me at the hospital the second day, carrying a large wrapped gift. Again, I opened it with the same feelings of wild anticipation and found a coat I had dearly wanted, but guessed was out of our budget range.

Subsequently, two babies and years later, I would come to treasure the unusual and thoughtful gifts our son gave us, especially the wooden Christmas plaques that he designed and made.

Just recently, my daughter moved and was looking for a knickknack to adorn an end table she had just bought. I went shopping with her and found the perfect item, a candle holder of amber crystals that stole my heart. There was only one and I must admit it was with great reluctance that I handed it to her. And shame on me that every time I entered her house, I found myself lamenting the loss of such a treasure.

A few months passed and on my birthday she gave me a card in which I knew there would be a gift certificate to a local restaurant. But, there was none. Instead she handed me a wrapped gift. I swear it never occurred to me that she had shopped around and found a duplicate of the candle holder I so loved. Never a day goes by that I don’t pass it and love it over and over again.

I host Christmas at my house, and like most, my grown family prefers the gift of money. What a bore. So selfishly, I buy five $1 gifts for each to unwrap before I give them a card with money enclosed. Luckily, they swear they love my “just-for-fun presents.”

Yes, gifts are fun, but surely the most precious gift of all is the love and obvious caring that accompanies each of these beautifully wrapped boxes.

Marge McMillen, of East Amherst, treasures the giving and receiving of gifts.