Andrea here, wishing a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate the day—and happy holidays to those who welcome the changing season with other spiritual traditions. Today is the first day of Word Wenches’ annual tradition of short daily blogs over the Twelve Days of Christmas. Today, many of us are enjoying the ritual of exchanging presents today with family and friends. It’s a fun and festive occasion for all ages, but especially for children, for whom the sight of gaily wrapped presents under the tree is a magical.
So my my musings today are about childhood gifts, and how some of them resonate with you long after childhood is a mere memory.
My mother was Swiss and she remembered receiving the marvelous stuffed animals and puppets made by Steiff, a company founded in 1880 by a woman—Margarete Steiff, who was born with physical disabilities and trained as a seamstress to support herself. She started her own line of felt clothing, and then happened to find a pattern for a toy elephant . . . and the rest is history.
So my mother continued the tradition with us. Steiff animals are known for their wonderful quality. They are also expensive . . . and as kids, my brothers and I each got one animal each Christmas as a special present. We collected a menagerie over a number of Christmases, and played countless make-believe games with them over the years.
But kids grow up, and the Steiff toys eventually got relegated to a box in the closet. Somewhere along the line, I came across them, and with the blessing of my brothers took them back to my house . . . where they are cherished to this day, and make me smile every time I take them out.
Some of you who follow my Instagram account are probably familiar with the puppets, Fox and Bear, who serve as my editorial assistants. I also have my teddy bear, who has been with me since I was six years old. And then there is the reindeer, who originally belonged to my younger brother, but who now plays a starring role in my annual Christmas decorations.
I love that these childhood gifts conjure up such wonderful memories of family. They are a connection to those long-ago days, which is, well, priceless.
Whether you celebrate this day or not, may you all have peace, joy and health in the coming year!
Do you remember a special Christmas or holiday present that still stirs wonderful memories?