"A what?" you say.
A recipient. A person who, on Christmas morning, woke to find disgusting displays of lavish consumerism awaiting her under the tree. I used to have to sort through a sea of gifts to determine what belonged to me and toss all else to my siblings. There were always some fabulous surprises in store - well into adulthood. My mother was a great gift-giver, with a knack for remembering some odd thing you'd mentioned 6 months prior and having it appear on Christmas as though you had placed the order yourself. For example, I once mentioned to her casually that I should have bought white dinnerware because the stuff I had seemed outdated already. I totally forgot about it. To this day, some 10 years later, I eat off of a really nice set of white dishes - 2 full sets for my then family of 2.
Sadly, they were usually repaid with just a token - a sweater set, some perfume, shirts for dad, a gadget of some sort. We tried, we really did. The best gift I ever gave my mom was a German class at UNO. I even gave her a backpack and took her to registration with me. We were like college buddies, and she loved it. That was a good year.
I'd like to think I was always grateful for the amazing Christmas gifts, although I do remember crying about my next door neighbor's awesome doll collection one year. I must have been about 7 or so. I went over to play after the big day and was consumed with envy. I still feel like crap about that, so I'm guessing I'm not a total heel. It's just, now I have 3 kids, and the sheer magnitude of what my parents did every year amazes me. And, now I know, they REALLY wanted us to love every single thing - because that's how I feel. I went shopping today, and I must have looked skyward in silent thanks at least 5 times. My sweet mom - how she loved her kids!
And, so now - I am the giver. I love to find just the right thing for the kids. It's not always easy - for them or for my husband. And, while T tries really hard, it is not in his nature to find "the thing." He got lots of points for the XM radio when it was still really new about 6 years ago. And he's still riding high on last year's iPod Touch, which ranks right up there with my all time favorites. But, one of the things I miss the most about Mom is that there is really no one in the world who knows me like she did. My likes, my dislikes, my hopes and dreams. And maybe that's the key to finding the perfect gift after all.