Christmas Presence

hollypinIn 1991, my husband took our young daughter (5, almost 6) Christmas shopping at our downtown Secret Santa shop, where adults assisted children in picking out presents and wrapping them up to keep them secret. It would be the first time my daughter picked out and bought presents on her own. I remember the grin on her sweet face as she returned from her shopping trip, bounced through the front door, and put her little bag under the tree with a reminder to me, “you can’t open it until Christmas.”

As always, the family was busy with the seasonal fun and accompanying rush of decorating, buying and wrapping gifts, baking and cooking, getting the holiday cards out. During this busy time, some of our daily routines had slipped through the cracks. There had even been one or two nights without a bedtime story, and on several occasions my daughter was left with family members as my husband and I attended holiday parties with our friends and co-workers.

One quiet night, my daughter reached under the Christmas tree, pulled out the little gift bag, and put it in my lap. “Mom, you don’t have to wait until Christmas. You might need it now.”  So I opened up the bag and inside was a green enamel holly bough pin, complete with a red enamel bow, and three little jingle bells attached at the bottom. Well, you can imagine the rest of the story. The teary-eyed Mama giving hugs and kisses to her little daughter while she listened to tales of the Secret Santa Shop.

I proudly wore my enamel pin the rest of the holiday season and jingled all the way!  it reminded me that what my daughter wanted most of all for Christmas was not the treats, not the gifts, but my presence. Like Snuggles the Bear, her furry little companion, she wanted to know where I was at all times. And if I jingled when I walked, well— she would always know right where I was.

And each year when I wear it, I am not only reminded of presence, but also of the birth of a child (our daughter was born December 21st). I am reminded of love, of joy, of giving. I know that everything about the Christmas season is wrapped up right there in that little jingly enamel holly pin!



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