Keep it Simple

by Jermaine

I do have a favorite childhood Christmas memory. I can’t tell you exactly how old I was but I think my mom tells this story best. Sorry, you’ll have to suffer with my watered-down version.

One year my grandmother went out and bought an extremely expensive train set for me and my older brother, Ralph. This train set was AMAZING.  We had little trees and everything to make it like a city. How much did we love it? We played with that train set for about four hours straight. We fought over who would get to push the button to make it run. We had to put about a million miles on the set before we destroyed it. I hugged my grandmother over and over and over again. For a few months she became my favorite relative. I’m ashamed to say that I liked her more than my parents!


As the anticipation for the next Christmas grew closer all I could do was ponder on what great feet she would pull to top the train set. Ralph and I usually held several discussions to map out what we’d get from our parents (and what we’d get from everyone else). This year we had special discussions just to imagine grandma’s gift. We reviewed remote control cars, helicopters, and airplanes… the possibilities were limitless!

When we finally got to grandma’s house we walked in all bundled up. I quickly tried to get my pre-gift hug in just to start to thank grandma in advance. My parents started their normal blah, blah, blah. I can remember thinking, “What are they talking about and when are we going to open the gifts?!?!??!”

Being a grandmother, my grandma offered us the customary holiday food. Of course we all sat down to eat. Normally I am blown away at my grandma’s meals. However, this year I don’t even remember what she served. All I could think of was the tree in her living room with the large collection of wrapped boxes underneath. The twinkling lights nearly hypnotized me.


The moment finally came when the gifts were passed out. I immediately became suspicious when I picked up my both and it wasn’t heavy. Something was wrong. Maybe I got the wrong box? Still excited, I began to unwrap the gift faster than my other siblings. I pulled the top off the box and staring back at me was a brand new…


No remote control plane? No Nintendo gameboy? Not a toy in sight. Without realizing that I was in a state of shock Ralph asked, “What did you get?”

In the heat of the moment I blurted out, “A STUPID SWEATER!”

Appalled, my mother grabbed me by the collar and pulled me into another room. I was made to apologize. Was I wrong? Yes, I was wrong! However, my expectations were tied to my previous experience.

My final suggestion for this week is…

Give people what they really want.

Black Friday is long over. Cyber Monday has passed. You’ve missed some sales but there is still plenty of time to get out and exceed the expectations you’ve set from previous years of great gift giving. While you’re out there do me a favor, give children TOYS!

Why is it that occasionally we try to give children adult’s gifts? Not many kids I know want a dress, sweater, or suit and tie. Yet, somewhere someone is giving mitch-match gifts! Give your dad a tie. Give your wife a dress. Take it from me, your five year old doesn’t want a STUPID SWEATER!