The Joy of Giving
Remembering our father, the ultimate gift-giver and possibly the real Santa
Special holidays, like Christmas, cause many of us to pause, appreciate, and reminisce cherished memories. This year, I remember when I learned about the joy we feel when giving to others. I first learned this message by witnessing the joy my father must have felt each time he would go all out on one of his huge giving sprees. My father was a truly unique individual who, unknowingly, played a huge part in the formation of The Days of Gifts.
My first memory of my father’s large sense of giving was, as a small child, receiving gifts from my dad on his birthday. He led my mom, sister, and I into the living room where he surprised us with a rather large stack of wrapped gifts for each of us to open. I believe I was just old enough to understand that this was not the norm. I quickly and quietly asked my mom, “Why did he give us presents on his birthday? It’s his birthday!” My mom explained that this was “just his way” and that he loved giving presents. It was then that I could see how excited my dad was and that this was the best present that he could have received that day: giving to us and feeling that excitement in giving.
Throughout the years, my dad would teach my sister and I over and over again how much fun it is to give, and sometimes give big. My dad would go completely overboard with gifts on birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, random days, any days. One memorable year in the 80s, my dad took a “selfie” with an old-fashioned film camera, printed dozens of 8 x 10 copies, framed them all, and gave them away as Christmas presents that year. My dad was excited to give a bit of himself and—admittedly—to laugh at his own eccentricity.
It all came full circle because later in life, my dad would play Santa at local stores for several Christmas seasons. My dad had grown to resemble a genuine-looking Santa with the white hair, full and white beard, and very loud laugh. Looking back, it all makes sense. My father was a living, breathing example of the joy a person receives when giving to others. He loved to give. And playing Santa was the perfect fit, as Santa Claus is a symbolic embodiment of the joy in giving. Plus, we later realized that rearranging the letters of Claus, spells Lucas (our last name). My father just might have been the real Santa after all.
I believe that it was my father’s larger-than-life love and joy of giving that prompted me to send The Twelve Days of Christmas to Andi all those years ago. The giving gene is in our chemical make-up and is part of our destiny.
Merry Christmas to all! We look forward to ringing in the New Year with a new set of gift packages for you to enjoy!!