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Where does the joy of Christmas really come from?

This week  at a church dinner party we were asked to bring one of our favorite things about Christmas $5 or less, to share in a gift exchange.  I thought and thought and thought about what to bring.  The same thing kept popping into my head, cereal….but then I felt a little foolish and would try to think of something a little more cleaver.  But no other ideas seem genuine or to fit.  I was getting rather worried about what to bring, and just a few hours before I left I saw an orange sitting on the kitchen counter.


This was just an ordinary orange, nothing special but I had a wave of emotions and memories fill my mind.  As a little girl I remember both of my Grandpa’s tell me stories of their childhood Christmas memories.  Both came from poor families, lots of children and times were hard.  I recall as a little girl being told the joy they would feel as they woke up Christmas morning.  And what did they find, but a simple orange placed in there stocking, with a few nuts….and some years a small gift.  I remember Grandpa Callahan telling me that he treasures that orange, he would just smell it for the longest time.  The carefully cut into it, and savory and enjoy each juice bite.  He would even eat the peel.  This was a real treat for him, and something he looked forward to each year. As a little girl, I enjoyed his story but sure did not understand the joy a silly orange could bring on Christmas morning.

In my youth we would also  get an orange in my stocking, but often it would be set aside and not even given much thought.  We did however each get our very own box of cereal Christmas morning.  This was a real treat, being that we never got it when I was little.  We would write our names on the front of the box, hide it from our brothers….and make it last as long as we possibly could.   I tell you, that cereal brought me just as much joy on Christmas morning as any toy.  And when I think of Christmas, cereal is always in my mind.

That is when it hit me, my “orange” was in fact cereal.  Just as I dismissed the orange, my children dismiss the cereal under our  tree Christmas morning.  It makes me sad to know  they don’t find the magic in cereal from Santa, that I did.  ( but HELLO they have me as their mom, so they are use to me bring home 20 boxes at a time that I got for Free with coupons)  BUT We can and do find the spirit and joy of Christmas in the little things.  My kids giggle with delight when they see lights,  eat Christmas cookies  or hear their fovorite songs…the spirit has not been lost in our home it is just felt in different ways.  We feel the joy of Christmas, when we simply appreciate what we do have, and the magic the season can bring.

So I brought my “$5 favorite thing” gift, some oranges, and 7 boxes of cereal  ( the magic of coupons,,,lol)…….  I shared my memories and was happy to see how excited they were about receiving it.

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