This I Believe

Hannah - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Giving and Receiving

Regardless of one’s desire for a gift, I believe that the act of giving triumphs over the act of receiving.

It was the holiday season of December 2000, and everyone was preparing for Christmas. The houses were being decorated with lights and mistletoe was being hung above every door. Everyone seemed to be having the best time of the year, except for my family. For us, it was the first Christmas after my parents’ divorce. My family and I had just experienced one of our most difficult changes, and were now trying to lift our spirits and celebrate the holiday season.

Because of the divorce, many things changed. I moved into a smaller house and was only living with my mom. When time came for buying presents, my mom explained to my sister and I that we shouldn’t expect as many gifts this year because we still had to adjust to our situation. I was extremely disappointed, and I was struggling to deal with all the changes coming my way. Although I was young and selfish at the time, I realized that I shouldn’t take the news that we weren’t getting as many presents personally. I wanted to do something for the good of my mom, and take my efforts of complaining and change them into an effort to brighten her holiday and make a present to give to her.

My mom would always go on and on about how much she loved the pictures we had of our family, but they were unorganized and thrown into boxes because of the move. I knew that if I incorporated those pictures into my present, my mom would not only be appreciative, but would also be touched by my thought. It took a week, but by the end of that seventh day I finished a homemade photo album to give to my mom for Christmas! It included sentimental photographs of my family and people who I knew meant the world to my mom. I was so proud of what I had achieved, and on Christmas Eve I found myself to be more anxious about giving my mom her present than receiving anything.

Christmas morning came along with the excitement of running downstairs to see what Santa and my mom had brought us. The feeling of disappointment I had expected from not seeing as many gifts under the tree this year was non-existent. My mom opened the present my sister got her, and then it was time for mine to be opened. The tears running down her cheeks and the words she spoke of appreciation after flipping through a couple pages of the album made me feel like a million dollars. Thanks to her reaction to a present I’ve never worked so hard on, that Christmas was the best one I have ever had.