November 29, 2016

The Class Christmas Gift Exchange

As a child growing up, my mom and I loved the library in the small town we lived in outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. You could borrow books for a month at a time and we both carried out stacks of books and then my mom would say, “Don’t go through them real fast, take your time, make them last.”

We didn’t have many books in our possession in our home, but we certainly enjoyed the vast selection at our library.

When I was just a little girl learning to read, one of the library books my mom read to me was A Little Princess. The classic story of Sara Crewe and her escapades in the attic of the girls’ school were exciting and vivid adventures in my mind.

A few years later when I learned to read well, and my mother was recovering from pneumonia, I borrowed the book again from the library and read it to her. She said no one had ever read a book to her and she was quite soothed by the evening readings while she rested. I finished the book and returned it to the library, admiring its beautiful cover and pictures inside. I wished I had my own copy of this wonderful book.

In my class at school that year we exchanged names on folded pieces of paper for the Christmas Party. Every year there was a class gift exchange and Christmas cookies and punch on the last day of school before the holiday break.

I wish I could remember what I bought for the person whose name I drew, but my memory has failed me on that. But what I do remember is the gift I received. When it was my turn to open my gift and was opening the package in my hands, and as the wrapping paper slipped away and the ribbon fell to the floor, I saw something very familiar in my hands. My gift was a beautiful copy of A Little Princess. 

The girl who drew my name called out to me, “My mom picked that out, I’m sorry she got a book, I know you are probably disappointed it is just a book…”

Was she ever wrong, I was thrilled! I was holding in my hands my very own copy of A Little Princess. I knew what I would do over Christmas vacation. I would read my book. When I was too young to read, my mom had read it to me. And then I read it to her. This time, I could read and savor my very own copy of this beautiful book. And keep it and treasure it for years to come. It was the best ever class Christmas gift exchange!