For elementary teachers the idea of Christmas gifts becomes more broadly defined than it is in other contexts. For us homemade, cheap, and even artistic gifts take on a completely different and sometimes dangerous definition.
A couple years ago I got what I have come to believe was a “lamp shade” made out of Hershey bar wrappers and a Starbucks cup.
I try to remember the reverence with which these gifts are held by the creative gifters but it’s hard not to laugh.
Long ago I received a box containing a Styrofoam circle covered in Pepsi bottle caps and green peach pits.
“Gosh!” exclaimed my daughter.
“Wow!” added my son.
We observed the gift in respectful silence for several minutes.
“What IS it?” my son finally asked.
“It’s a Christmas wreath, of course,” I answered. “One of my students made it for us.”
“Come on. She bought it.”
“Nobody SELLS things like that… Besides, there’s blood all over one of the peach pits.”
“Do you like it?” my son asked.
“Son, no one else in the whole world has a wreath like this. My student put a lot of time and energy into this wreath.”
“Not to mention blood,” my daughter added.
“But do you LIKE it?” he insisted.
“LIKE is perhaps the wrong word, “I retorted. ”I RESPECT this wreath. Gifts like this are unique products of human imagination. Gifts like this are living symbols of man’s creative genius. Gifts like these are…”
“UGLY!” my son interrupted.