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The annual ritual of helping my parents decorate the tree always unearths some interesting artifacts. Wooden blocks sloppily glued together to create clunky ornaments that spell “Mom” and “Dad.” Misshapen salt-dough figurines. A faded construction-paper wreath. I love that my parents still treasure these little gifts.

One of the things I love about children is the way they give with such enthusiasm, whether they are crafting ornaments or acting in a Christmas play.

I remember rehearsing, and learning by heart
The words I would say, when playing my part.

Christina Rossetti’s poem (the lyrics to a popular carol) “In the Bleak Midwinter” describes another spirit of giving:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

12, 11, 10, 98

Photo by Angela Mapes Turner

Photo by Angela Mapes Turner