December Post – 2020

Giving and Receiving

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Recently I was thinking about how life was when I was growing up during the 50s and 60s. Giving and receiving was a big part of my life, as mentioned in my book. I am thankful for being taught to give and to be appreciative of the gifts that I received.

For example, my memories of Birthdays and Christmas stand out the most when it comes to receiving things in our family. Each birthday mother made a delicious cake, decorated it with fun colors of icing and added candles. We were always encouraged to make a wish before we tried to blow all the candles out at once. We usually received one or two gifts like a toy, a doll, a coloring book, crayons, a game, and by the time we reached sixteen years old, we received a Bible. Another memory was when my mother pulled our ears when we had a birthday. She pulled our ears and counted how old we were, and then added, “and a big one to grow.” According to, Birthday Ear Pulling: In Italy, Hungary, Argentina, and other countries, a tradition for birthdays were that you wish a happy birthday by pulling on the earlobes of the birthday boy or girl. This tradition is done once for each year of the person’s age. The translation from “God bless you, live so long, so your ears reach your ankles.”

On Christmas morning, mother always placed an orange, one clear toy candy and a candy cane on our plate at the breakfast table. After breakfast, we would gather around in our living room, and each of us received one are two gifts like clothing, a game, crayons, or a book. There were seven of us children, so we understood why we didn’t receive many gifts.

Today, many people are experiencing hardships with COVID-19, plus other challenges.  What lessons am I learning during these difficult times?  Giving and receiving is a joy. Holidays and celebrations can be fun, but keep in mind there are others less fortunate.

In what ways have you experienced the joy of giving or receiving during this year? What are some of your special memories of the Holidays?

2 Comments on “December Post – 2020”

  1. Lovely post Sandy! I am glad for the love in your family. At 61, if someone pulled my earlobes they certainly would reach my ankles, lol. I love that blessing. Thanks for sharing it. Of course, my favorite Christmas is the one that made me believe for certain and always that there IS a Santa Claus. The spirit of Christmas is all about giving, and it works through people. Beautiful people. When I was a single Mom with two young children to raise we had a year in which I could not afford a tree or any gifts. Wow I didn’t know what I was going to do, as my children were used to having gifts and tree and all. One of the caretakers at the daycare center my children went to while I was at work asked me “Are you ready for Christmas?” And for some reason I was honest with her and told her I didn’t know what I was going to do. We lived in cold, icy, stormy, beautiful Colorado at the time, way up in the mountains. Well, on Christmas Eve she and her boyfriend travelled through the icy, dangerous mountain roads for over an hour to bring us a tree that her neighbors had left on the curb since they were travelling. They’d done their Christmas early. The knock on my door that evening surprised me. They came in with red noses and rosy cheeks and this big, fluffy tree. So I cooked popcorn and got out cranberries and with my children one on each side of me on the couch, we strung those and decorated our beautiful tree. For their gifts I remembered the stories my grandparents told me of the Depression, which they survived, in which they felt very well blessed by receiving an orange and some nuts for Christmas. So I went into my kitchen and got out an orange and some nuts for each of my children and filled their stockings with those. On Christmas morning, we sat together with a fire in the hearth (food and warmth were priorities at that time) I told them the story of my Grandparents. My son noticed my stocking was empty and he said “Gosh Mom, where’s your Christmas?” Well he didn’t know how full my heart was, but what he did was amazing. He was only about nine years old. He split his orange and nuts with me. He shared. And this is how he has grown up into a very loving, giving human being. I’m so proud of him. And these events are why I am certain that Santa is alive and well and working all over the world, especially now. Thanks for letting me share my story of giving and receiving. They are sisters, Giving and Receiving. One can’t happen without the other and they are both very beautiful XO

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