We had an ornament exchange, as is typical around this time of year.
I’ve led a college small group for the last two years. They started as baby freshmen and now they are juniors who are figuring out life and making adult choices and WHERE DID MY BABIES GO.
I have a lot of goals when it comes to how I want to lead this group, but a most important one is to build them each a pretty decent ornament collection before they graduate. When they are having their first Christmas out in the big world as graduates and they can’t decide if they can afford to decorate, I want them to have a handful of ornaments that they can hang on some tiny tree in the corner of their first apartment. (You know the one – that first apartment that you think is AMAZING and GORGEOUS when you are 22 but would not even consider as appropriate living conditions when you are 30.)
As I perused the ornament section last week, trying to decide which one to purchase for our ornament exchange, I couldn’t get past the hilarity of the baby blue One Direction ball, covered in pink hearts, with a photo and autograph of each band member. It was perfect. I bought it. Wrapped it. And when all the girls arrived on Tuesday night, my wrapped ornament got mixed in a pile of other wrapped ornaments, ready to be traded and shared.
We drew numbers, the old Dirty Santa way. The girl with #1 picked the first ornament and unwrapped it. Girl #2 got to either steal the first ornament or open her own. I ended up with the last number.
The game moved quickly, and as each ornament was opened, I realized these girls had purchased genuinely beautiful ornaments for each other. And then there was mine. Oops.
And the girls barely stole from each other – we weren’t very dirty Santas – because they each really loved the one they had opened. They love each other so well, it’s a gift God has given our group. And in the gift exchange, they couldn’t bear to steal from another.
As the game moved on, my wrapped ornament (that no one knew was the jester in this ornament court) kept being overlooked. And me, being the last one to pick, realized that it was down to me stealing from one of my girls or ending up with a boy band on my tree.
I got what I deserved. A teeny-bopper ornament now added to my own collection, while the other girls took home trendy gold snowflakes or wooden reindeer.
Every time I see it, I will be reminded of my girls and the joy they take in giving gifts that mean something.
A lesson well learned.
Do you have a favorite ornament story?
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By Annie DownsLeave a Comment