My three kids and I are united on at least one thing: We love Christmas. It’s such a pretty, homey holiday—the baubly tree, the yummy cookies, the suspenseful advent calendar, the festive meals. It’s the little stuff that makes it wondrous.
I rely on this principle in gift-giving, too. To me, the ultimate Christmas day excitement is gathering around to open stockings. I spend all year gathering up odd items with an eye to delight:
A pair of red Chinese slippers from Pearl River; a mini purple geode from a hippie store; a solar-powered dancing penguin; fancy band-aids; tarot cards; tiny books.
None of these things add up to much in the way of expense, but watching the kiddos reach in, retrieve each one, and giggle with glee? Get ready—I’m gonna say it—priceless. (It is, though!)
It doesn’t hurt that early on, I insisted that Santa was not a catalogue, but a special fairy with insight into what will give you pleasure. Plus, no one ever sees him (pay no attention to that guy in the mall).
My older two still believe in Santa—that he speaks to me, and I listen. And I do.
Susan Gregory Thomas lives in Philadelphia, and is the author of "In Spite of Everything," a memoir.