The Best Christmas Gifts Come in Small Packages

The Old Mill, Caledonia, Ontario

On Thursday, the whole town (it seemed like everyone in town showed up) gathered to open the Christmas season. We filed out of our homes, down the streets and along the Grand River to the Old Mill. Choirs sang, Winners of a colouring contest were announced. The town mascot led in a countdown – 10, 9, 8 – no sooner had we shouted 1 than a magical light show began. Set to music, lights ran up, down and around the Old Mill. Snow drops lit cedars nearby and running lights outlined a tiny island in the center of the river.

Afterwards my husband and I, with our daughter, her husband and their two children,

tramped across the bridge and through the quaint assortment of downtown stores for hot chocolate, apple cider and shortbread. My four-year-old grandson’s eyes lit up when he saw rows of Santa cookies in the window of Jones’s Bakery, a 100 year plus establishment.

A foolish question but I asked it anyway – “Is there something in the window you’d like?”

“Gramma, can I have a Santa cookie?”

We opened the ancient door of the bakery and took our places at the end of a line that wound through the store aisles and ended at the counter. By the time that Santa cookie made it back to the sidewalk it already had several little bites missing.

I love Christmas but the pressure to buy, buy, buy has stolen some of my joy. I long for simpler ways to celebrate. I experienced one of those simple joys at our town’s official opening of Christmas. I saw a little boy grin with delight while he ate a forty-cent cookie.

I plan to buy my grandson more than this forty-cent cookie for Christmas but I doubt he, or I, will have any more pleasure in it than we did tonight at Jones’s Bakery.

Piglet: The best things come in small packages don’t they Pooh?

Pooh: Yes Piglet, very often they do.


About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at:
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4 Responses to The Best Christmas Gifts Come in Small Packages

  1. Ya, the chaos is always waiting to swallow us up.

  2. vanyieck says:

    I love Christmas, but not for the presents. To be honest, I don’t really ever remember what I receive. The past few years I’ve been focused on established family traditions in the hopes of building meaningful family memories. Of course, we mustn’t forget Christ, the true meaning of Christmas.

    • Yes, building meaningful memories is important. As a Mom I’ve often been disappointed in the results of my efforts to build family traditions/memories. I think I was trying too hard. I don’t try so hard now and I’m more accepting of how things turn out.

  3. Anne Laidlaw says:

    Thanks for this reminder to enjoy the simple things over Christmas. Everyear I seem to get caught us in the chaos.

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