It's almost Christmas! To me, this is the most wonderful, blessed and joyous day of the year. People who don't feel that way don't really know what joy is waiting for them.

It's almost Christmas! To me, this is the most wonderful, blessed and joyous day of the year. People who don't feel that way don't really know what joy is waiting for them.
One of the greatest joys of Christmas is giving. Whether it be a kind word and a smile or a big expensive gift, the joy of giving is very special. But, you know, for every gift given, there is a recipient, the person or persons who receive the gift. Without them there would be no joy in giving.
When I was a child, my parents didn't have much money. They had a lot of love and had many friends, so they were rich as kings. But I can look back and see how they gave, even though they were getting.
We never had welfare or any kind of charity. My dad would have died first. But he had a brother who was considered a rich man. He had done well in business and owned a large supermarket when few people even knew the word.
Daddy was so proud that when my family (with whichever of the 10 kids were still at home) went to the big town every Saturday, we never did our shopping in my uncle's store. My father did not want anyone to see us coming out of a store with groceries and thinking that we did not pay for them.
Somehow, my uncle seemed to understand.
But before we left town, the family stopped at the supermarket and my dad visited a few minutes with his brother. We kids got to visit with his son (our cousin), and we all had a good time.
My uncle thought the world of my mother. He admired her so much, not only because she had borne 10 children, but because she was so pleasant and happy. One year, when I was just a tiny baby and we had not yet moved to the cotton farm, my uncle sent Mamma a Christmas gift, even though he knew how my father felt about taking things.
That year had been an especially hard one, but one day we got a notice that a package for my mother was at the little post office. The post office was about two blocks away, across a little open field. Mamma sent the two youngest boys to get the package. They found the package was much bigger than they could handle, but they got it outside and, together, tried to carry it. They struggled and struggled but finally had to put it on the ground. The oldest stayed with the package and sent the little one to get help. The little brother returned with an older sister and they got the package home.
I was just a baby and missed the occasion, but all the kids gathered around as Mamma opened the package. They said you could tell that the package came from our uncle because it was perfectly packed and as neat as a pin, just like our uncle, who was meticulous in his appearance. It was almost too pretty to unpack.
 The Christmas box contained wonderful things; things we rarely had such as coconut, pecans, dried fruit, dates, cocoa, maraschino cherries and much, much more. That year my mother had a field day cooking for Christmas.
She wrote a letter to our uncle to express her thanks. For years, he declared that letter was the best gift he ever got for Christmas. We gave him a reason to give.
Everyone was happy and blessed; Mamma, our uncle, we kids, and yes, even Daddy.





 
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.