Recently, I’ve been thinking about the material gifts I’ve gotten in my lifetime. Last week during Christmas I was trying to remember what the most important ones were, the ones that stuck out the most. Does anyone else feel like all Christmases kind of blend together after a while? I personally think that we could all use a little less Christmas-ing in our lives every year, but that’s for another blog post. I believe that God is the best gift of all and should be celebrated thus, but I think that He wants us to enjoy things that He has provided…
That being said, I compiled a list because I thought it was interesting the gifts that immediately came to my mind. So, here goes.
For my (I think) 16th birthday, my parents bought my brother and I a joint present because we share the same birthday month. They bought us a really nice complete set of luggage, with 2 large suitcases and a smaller carry-on to share. I have to say, I was a little disappointed when I got this at the time. I remember thinking, “Really? I couldn’t have gotten anything cooler than a set of luggage?”
Little did I know that this present was going to be one of the most useful things I own. Five years later, I am now in possession of both suitcases and I think my mom has claimed rights to the carry-on. I’ve taken these suitcases with me all over the country. I took one with me when I went to Disney in 10th grade, vacations to the Outer Banks, IUP band trips across the state, Virginia when I worked there after basic training, Mississippi for a church youth conference, and so much more. Not to mention the dozens of trips traveling to western Pennsylvania and back for both colleges I’ve attended. When Andrew was in college, we shared the suitcases, using them to lug our belongings back and forth to school numerous times throughout the year. But now, Andrew has a big kid job and an apartment and can buy his own luggage now. 🙂 One of the suitcases will travel with me when I go to Jamaica this summer!
When I was in middle school, my step-grandma JoAnn gave me, along with some other clothes, a gorgeous purple robe. She always has excellent taste! It was huge on me at the time, but now it fits me just right. I didn’t use it much for a long time, not really until I went to college. But for the past four years, I’ve worn it almost every day! I have memories of walking down the hall of my freshman dorm wearing my bathrobe with a towel on my head and my shower caddy in my hand. I put it on every morning (I think it’s kind of funny that my mom also has a purple robe but she only wears hers in the evenings!) It’s lost some of its fluffiness and color over the years, but it’s still so cozy. I’ll probably keep wearing it until it falls apart.
3. Coffee Mug
Pictured here is the one I actually just got this Christmas, but I have another one that I’ve used for the past several years. It’s purple and I got it when I was a senior in high school. It was a Secret Santa gift from a friend named Olivia. We were in this a capella group together at school called Bear Singers, and we had a gift exchange. Actually, a funny anecdote that goes with this: I used to always eat my lunch during music theory class, which she was also in. Apparently I took a tuna salad sandwich once or twice, and Olivia hated the smell of tuna. So inside the mug she stuffed a couple packets of tuna fish! I guessed pretty quickly who my gift was from. She’s probably never forgiven me for those tuna salad days. (Side note: CONGRATS to Olivia for just recently getting engaged! I wish you two all the happiness in the world!)
I’m not a coffee drinker (people tell me this will change once I start student-teaching) but I do love tea. This past semester especially I’ve used my travel mug to take peppermint tea to class on cold mornings. I really like this travel mug because it’s actually ceramic like a regular coffee mug so you can feel the heat of the drink, unlike my purple travel mug which was insulated. Also, this chevron one has a spill-proof lid, unlike some of the ceramic travel mugs I’ve seen. It will be put to good use for student teaching and my future teaching life! Thanks Mom.
4. Fiesta Ware
Also a gift from my wonderful mom. I have three complete sets that she’s bought me over the past several years and I’d like to keep adding to it. I have a set of yellow, blue, and salmon. I especially like the little teacups and the bowls. I also like that this company is an American company, with all their products being manufactured in West Virginia (as opposed to a sweat shop in a third world country…). I’d actually really like to visit their main factory someday – apparently they have a big sale once a year to get rid of all their mismatched stuff. I’ve used my Fiesta Ware since I’ve lived in an apartment at school, and I plan on making these 3 sets the beginning of my future kitchen dishes! I’ll probably paint the walls to match the plates. Life is too wonderful and colorful for white walls!
I’m not talking about my professional model that I bought two years ago, I’m referring to my beloved Emerson that I got when I was in 11th grade. I paid for half of it with my own money from my first job and the other half my parents paid for me. I could not have gotten this instrument if it hadn’t been for them. This flute was with me through thick and thin. It basically helped me decide that I wanted to study music for the rest of my life. It came with me to 9 band/orchestra festivals in high school, and got me the top seat in almost all of them. Part of that was me working my butt off, but a huge part of it was because I had a nice instrument. It also got me accepted into Grove City College, which I attended for a year, and then later got me into IUP where I go now.
I used it for two years in college before I just eventually outgrew it – I couldn’t get any better with tone or technique so I knew I had to upgrade. But those four years I used my flute, I grew enormously as a musician, and I have my parents to thank because of their generous gift.
There are more items I could put on here, but these are the biggies. In a few years, I wonder how my list will change? It was kind of fun taking a trip down memory lane and remembering all the stories that go along with receiving these gifts. What’s on your “best gift ever” list?