For me the two words “Christmas china” stir-up memories of a Xmas gift. It was not a Christmas present that I gave to someone else, nor was it china that someone else gave to me. It was a Xmas gift that my grandmother gave to my sister.
That Xmas gift was a large china plate. Although it was a green plate, it did not display the sort of green one normally finds on Christmas cards or Christmas decorations. The color of that plate might be best described as “chartreuse.”
I doubt that I would not hold memories of that Xmas gift had my grandmother not overlooked one piece of etiquette in regard to Xmas gift-giving. Being then in her 80s, my grandmother tended to forget things. She forgot to remove the price tag from the bottom of that china plate.
Now my sister had always had a good sense of humor. In fact, I can remember many evening meals when she joked so much that I had to laugh until I cried. By the same token, my sister had much love and respect for our grandmother.
After my sister opened that Xmas gift, and after she saw the price tag on the bottom of the plate, she then said nothing about our grandmother’s slip-up. Instead she walked around the room and allowed each of the members of our family to get a better look at her Xmas gift. When she showed the plate to me, she quietly turned it over, revealing the price tag.
As I looked up at my sister, I could see that she understood that my grandmother had never meant to leave that tag there on that China plate. She understood that our grandmother was struggling with a failing memory. Perhaps she recalled the time when the two of us shared information about two Christmas presents for our mother.
One year our father showed us a green case for carrying car keys. He knew that our mother had a very old and worn key-carrying case. My sister and I delighted in knowing ahead of time what our mother would get on Christmas morning.
Not long after we saw that much-needed gift we witnessed our grandmother coming into our room. She too had purchased a green key-carrying case for our mother. The two of us just looked at each other as our grandmother shared her one gift plan with us. We did not tell her that our mother would be getting a similar gift from our father.
The incident with the china plate encouraged reflection on that and other Christmas memories. One would not be incorrect in suggesting that that Xmas gift was a reminder to all the members of our family. It was a reminder to all of us that we should enjoy each Christmas that we have with any of our close relatives.
We never know how many times we will have an opportunity to graciously accept any Xmas gift. We never know how many times we will have a chance to give a meaningful Christmas gift.