The Best Christmas Gift

I have received some fabulous Christmas gifts in my lifetime. I think the most valuable and emotional was my son, whom I brought home from the hospital on Christmas morning in 2000. That was the gift that changed my life in the most positive and influential way.

But my favorite Christmas as a young person was the year my dad bought me a stereo system. I was an avid music listener. I had always wanted to play an instrument, but money was tight. I assumed that our family couldn't afford to buy an instrument I'd enjoy (drums, guitar, sax, or piano), so rather than ask for one, I relied instead on the radio.

Starting around eight years old, I dedicated long hours to listening to music -- mostly on a little homemade radio my dad passed down to me that he pieced together from an old car stereo. I'd roll the dial up and down the line, listening and singing along to whatever song came on. After I exhausted the FM channels, I'd switch to AM. I had a few cassettes that were given to me (like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Rolling Stones that my favorite uncle slipped to me), but mostly it was all radio all the time.

And then one Christmas, when my dad sent our gifts, I saw that I had one really large box while my sisters had several small boxes. I couldn't even imagine what was in that box. On Christmas morning, I tore into the wrapping paper as quickly as I could. It was a real stereo system complete with 5-disk CD changer. I didn't own any CDs yet, but I had big dreams of all the music I'd soon have at my fingertips.

I was a little heartbroken that my sisters had so many small trinkets to unwrap and I only had one, but that melancholy was soon replaced when I saw that my younger sister was given two CDs: Garth Brooks' No Fences and Shakespeare's Sister's Hormonally Yours. I could test out my new gift! I think we played Shameless and Stay on repeat for the next 72 hours.

I don't even own a stereo now; all that bulky equipment has been replaced by iTunes and my iPod. However, the memory still makes me feel excited and loved. I remember feeling so special that my father would purchase this extravagant gift just for me and so understood because he knew that music was the one thing I loved most.

It never occurred to me to think of how much that stereo cost or what my mom could've bought with that money (considering my father refused to pay child support). It was Christmas and my gift was perfect.


This post was written for the (W)rite of Passage challenge created by Mrs. Flinger. The challenge is designed to inspire bloggers to write, to hone their craft and tell better stories, rather than to chase page views and followers. The challenge is open to anyone, so join if it speaks to you!


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