December 21, 2009 , Posted by byu at 5:23 PM
By Sharon Bryant
Back in the 80s, I used to watch "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" on TV with my children. There was one night when we watched it that I will never forget, and that gave me an idea, it changed all my plans for Christmas. I was divorced that year and stretching pennies.
On the TV show, Dr. Quinn was making gifts for her three children. I watched as she knitted at night on three scarves, three pair of mittens, and three hats. My children and I watched as Dr. Quinn wrapped the gifts in brown paper, then tied a big red ribbon on all three gifts. I decided that night that we, too, were going to have a Dr. Quinn Christmas. I told my children that we were going to make our gifts that year for each other. I decided to do some heavy-duty baking for my family and friends. I told my children to go into their rooms and think about what they wanted to make for each other.
My son came out of his room and asked for some Popsicle sticks and glue. I gave them to him, and soon, he ran back out and asked to use some of my paints.
My daughter came out of her room and asked if she could look through my craft box and get some ribbons, lace, straight pins, and several other items. I told her yes she could.
At night, when the children were sleeping, I knitted on the hat and sweater I was making for them. We began this all three weeks before Christmas that year.
I took the brown grocery sacks from the grocery store and used that for my wrapping paper. Inside were the sweaters, and mittens to match their sweaters and hats. I got a box and filled it with the cookies I had made, wrapping those in brown paper also, and tied each one with a big red ribbon.
When the kids asked me for wrapping paper, I handed them each a grocery sack, reminded them that Dr. Quinn didn't have printed wrapping paper, and told them to make their own. I watched as they went into their rooms and brought out crayons, paints, and colored pencils. I smiled, knowing my idea caught on.
I bought hot dogs and marshmallows for Christmas Eve that year. We sat in front of the fireplace, with our hot dogs stuck on twigs I got from outside, and I have to say, a hot dog has never tasted as good as the ones we made that night in the open fire. Nor the roasted marshmallows we ate afterward. I heated hot water in the fireplace, and we drank hot cocoa. No lights were on, no television. We used lanterns that night, as we sat in front of the fireplace, singing Christmas songs. Jingle Bells has never sounded as sweet as it did that night.
We opened our gifts to each other that night. I smiled as I looked at my gifts from my two children, wrapped in brown paper and decorated with the paints, crayons and pencils they used. I still have the birdhouse my son made me and the gorgeous Christmas ornament my daughter made for me. I still smile when I think of how happy they were with their new sweaters, hats and mittens. When I remember them opening the box with all the goodies inside, I can close my eyes and still hear them squealing at all the pretty cookies in the box.
My children are 28 and 31 now, but they still remember that Christmas Eve we spent alone. They learned it's not how many things we receive for gifts, or how much we spend on a gift. They learned to take the time to make something they were sure the other would like. But most of all, they learned that gifts should come from the heart and not the pocketbook.
Christmas to me is from the heart. There is no greater feeling than to surprise someone. I know my son will be asking me any day now what I would like for Christmas. I think I am going to tell him I would like two handmade gift certificates for my three dogs to be groomed. My daughter-in-law is a groomer. And of course I want my "furry little children" to look good for Christmas!
My only request will be that the gift certificates have to be handmade. I want to see how creative my son and daughter-in-law can be! My daughter lives 1200 miles away, and I will mail her gift as always. But there will be something handmade for her this year.
I will never forget that Dr. Quinn Christmas as long as I live. And now, I shall close because I've got a whole lot of baking to do. I have several people I want to surprise this year. I wish you all a "Wonderful Dr. Quinn Christmas" this year!
--Sharon Bryant email@example.com