Thanks to my long time friend Lynnette for sending this to me this morning.....
It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name.....
no identification, no inscription. It has peek through the branches of our Christmas tree
for the last ten years or so. It all began because my husband Henry hated Christmas, not
the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, overspending, the frantic
running around at the last minute for a tie for uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Granny.
The gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to by-pass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties
and so forth. I reached for something just for Henry. The inspiration came in an unusual
way. Our son, Kevin, who was twelve that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the
school he attended Shortly before Christmas, there was a match scheduled against a team
sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly Black young boys. These youngsters dressed in
sneakers so ragged that the shoestrings were the only thing holding them together, presented
a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new
As the match began I was alarmed to see the other team was wrestling without headgear, a
light helmet to protect the head and ears. It was a luxury the rag-tag team just could not
afford! We ended up walloping the team, took every weight class. As each of the boys got up
off the mat, he swaggered in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that
couldn't acknowledge defeat. Henry, seated beside me, shook his head sadly. ' I wish just
one of them could of won. They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the
heart right out of them.'
Henry loved kids. All kids, and he knew them, having coached little league, football, baseball
and lacrosse. That is when the idea for the present came. That afternoon, I went to the
sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear, and shoes and sent
them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas eve, I placed the envelope on the
tree, the note inside telling Henry what I had done, and that it was his gift from me. His
smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and the succeeding years since.
For each Christmas I have followed that tradition. One year sending a group of mentally
handicapped to a hockey game, another year sending a check to a pair of elderly brothers
whose home burnt down the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the
highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and
our children, ignoring their new toys and such, would stand wide eyed in anticipation as
their dad would reach for the envelope and reveal it's contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical gifts, but the envelope never lost
its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Henry last year. When Christmas rolled
around, I was still wrapped up in grief, I barely got the tree up. But there I was on Christmas
eve placing that envelope. When I came down in the morning my envelope had been joined by three
others! Each of our children, unbeknownst to me and the others, had placed an envelope on the
tree for their dad.
The tradition has grown, and will someday expand even further with our grand children standing
around their tree in anticipation as their fathers take down the envelope. Henry's spirit,
like Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason
for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always. God bless, and pass this
on to your friends and loved ones...........................
Hope you enjoyed this story.