Years ago, when I first moved to California, I received an unexpected gift one Christmas. It was my first Christmas in my small condo with my two cats. As space was at a premium and I wanted to minimize my cats’ opportunities to destroy my Christmas creation, so I purchased a dinky three-foot fake tree to decorate. I placed it on a table out of reach. Then I bought some pocket-sized Christmas balls, other tiny ornaments, and a string of miniature lights. My tree was a puny sight by some people’s standards but perfect for me at the time. All I needed was a little angel to top it.
I looked all over but to no avail. All the angels that I found were too big. I finally decided that my tree wouldn’t have an angel.
A week before Christmas, my boyfriend (future husband) asked me to attend a Christmas party with him. This particular party had a tradition of the Secret Santa gift game. Most of you know: everybody brings a wrapped gift and puts it under the tree. Then numbers are drawn, and one by one, the presents are chosen. What makes it fun is that people can take one from under the tree or can steal one from another person that has already chosen picked. The version we played was that the gifts had to stay wrapped and only opened after everyone had something in their possession when the game was over. Several large, brightly wrapped gifts were stolen, again and again, by the participants of the game, producing lots of laughter.
When it was my turn, instead of taking one of the large gifts, I chose a small, plain gift bag. Tying the handles together was a festive decoration of ribbon, gold beads, and a tiny, French horn. I thought that the instrument would be a perfect ornament to add to my shrimpy tree. I possessively held onto my choice, but it was not necessary. No one else wanted my diminutive gift.
Finally, all the presents were distributed and the game was over. I opened my bag to see what prize was inside. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found a tiny, delicate angel ornament!
My new acquisition went immediately on my tree. Over the years, as my collection of ornaments and Christmas trees have grown in size, he still finds a special spot in the front. To remind me that sometimes unexpected gifts are the best.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All.