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I feel a bit weird talking about this since #1 my mom now reads my site–Hi, Mom!–and this directly relates to her but isn’t about her if that makes any kind of sense and #2 I don’t have a whole bunch of specifics about this story like the year or the name of the store. At any rate…
I know I was young. I was young enough that I didn’t have any money of my own.
My Aunt Paula had taken me Christmas shopping and we stopped at this boutique packed full of breakable, expensive Christmas kitsch. It was one of those small, overfilled places children should not frequent; it was one of those places where they probably had a sign that read, “Children left unattended will be given espresso and a free kitten.” I would have been down with a free kitten.
Through all the clutter, my focus was drawn to an ornament hanging in the middle of one of the many decorated Christmas trees–all of the ornaments were for sale. The ornament was a besparkled carousel unicorn I had to have. I’ve always been horse crazy and this ornament called to my tiny self. This is how I know I was little–it was almost Christmas and I didn’t have a gift for my mom and that made me sad and I wanted that stinkin’ ornament. My tiny brain knew this would be the best of both worlds.
I don’t remember giving Mom that ornament but I remember countless Christmases of it being lovingly unwrapped from its tissue and wrapped up again once the tree came down. Now that sparkly unicorn lives on our tree and Cara oos and ahs over the sequins and Ollie plots on how to remove the thing from the high branch where it lives.
Years ago, I never would have been able to imagine how wonderful a gift this ornament would turn out to be.
It was a dual present for Mom and me. It was a present for me again when Mom gave me all of our family ornaments. It became a present for Cara and Ollie once they grew old enough to appreciate the sparkles and colors.
Not the most expensive present ever–especially since it was free to me from Aunt Paula–but it has meant more to me than most things and was the first thing I thought of when I was tasked with writing about “The Best Gift You Ever Gave.”
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