The Best Christmas Gift I Ever Received

December 4, 2014 10:49 PM

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Thirty-years ago, when my children were small, I dreaded the arrival of the holiday season and by the time Christmas arrived I would turn into Scrooge. I hated the holiday traffic jams, the dearth of parking spaces, department stores as crowded as a sporting event, and checkout lines longer than the ones at the DMV. I loathed going to holiday parties and making small talk with inebriated people I hardly knew, and dreaded my relatives who stayed for a week. I grumbled when my wife asked me to hang the outside lights and disliked decorating the Christmas tree with the family. The holidays seemed to be nothing but stress. The way I saw it, the holidays were a month-long mania that reached a frenetic climax on Christmas day, and then collapsed into depression when the credit card bill arrived.

My wife's attitude towards the holidays was the opposite. She loved it and devoted herself to making it as joyful as possible, especially for the children. Her mother had died when she was only six years old, and she'd experienced a number of bleak Christmases growing up. She was resolved that our c...

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