I remember our first Christmas. We'd been married 9 days and barely had 2 nickels to rub together. The night shift where we worked had ended. I got transferred to day shift, but Philip didn't graduate until Christmas break, and so he was laid off.
I had saved every penny I could and my dad paid the first months rent on our trailer. After buying a few groceries, we had $30 left to buy Christmas presents. Not just for us, but for our parents (4) and our brothers and sisters (5). We weren't a bit discouraged! We were running high on love and that was enough!
My mom had recently bought herself a new Christmas tree so she gave us her old one. It was the tree I had grown up with...a 6 foot tall, silver, aluminum tree!! She gave us 1 strand of lights and 1 strand of red and silver foil garland. Philip's mom gave us 4 ornaments and a sheet that we could use for a tree skirt.
We took $2 and went to Wal Mart and bought a brass ornament that we engraved our names and the year on...which, by the way, started a family tradition that we are still doing today..and a star for the top of our tree...a silver star!!
We took the $30 we had for presents and began shopping. We bought each of our dads a flannel shirt. Each mom got 2 bowls. Each little sister (3) got a book and each little brother (2) got a car. Then we purchased 1 gift for each other. We bought some tape and a roll of wrapping paper and went home to wrap our treasures.
On Christmas morning we woke early and turned the lights on the Christmas tree. We just sat there staring at that tall, silver, thin branched tree thinking it was the most beautiful thing we'd ever laid eyes on.
Finally we decided to exchange our gifts. I went first. Philip had bought me a pair of koala bear house shoes. They were gray and white and on the top of each foot was a koala bear head.
It was time for Philip to open his gift next. I had purchased a socket set for him. You know, one of those cheap socket sets that break the first time you use it. But he was as happy as if I'd just handed him a huge set of Craftsman tools.
I don't remember much else about the day. I just remember that we were as poor as church mice and as happy as we could be. I think about that every time I find myself getting caught up in the hype and commercialism of Christmas.
How simple that first Christmas was. Something we will treasure forever.