Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Tis the Season - The Christmas Gift

Tom Jones
Guest Blogger

Let me introduce you to my brother, Tom. I think he is a "closet" blogger. He is the President of Bryan Equipment Co. here in Cincinnati, a distributor of Stihl Chain Saws and related products.

For the past decade, Tom has written a Christmas letter that has been published on the cover of the company newsletter reflecting on the meaning of Christmas. Of course I've been a fan as he often refers to memories I have of growing up in a special family.

From now until Christmas, Tom's annual letters will appear in this space. In a couple of cases I will take the liberty to insert pictures from Christmases past of the Jones Family.

So have a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!

One Year in early adolescence, it happened!  I discovered where my parents hid the Christmas gifts that they had accumulated throughout the fall in anticipation of that great morning.  I was the second oldest of seven children and our suburban home was modest. There just weren’t any hiding places that “the kids” could not find, but somehow my parents managed to keep this place a secret.  I suspect dad set the location as he was an expert at this and other tricks; like hiding Easter baskets in impossible locations behind the shower curtain suspended from a clothes hanger up high, just for sheer orneriness.

For a few days I delighted in the knowledge of the hiding place and was very careful to distract the site from my younger brothers and sister as they still believed in Santa.  Of course I could not tell my older sister, because she would tell Mom and Dad.  Day after day I would peek just to be sure the gifts were still there and would be surprised to see that the stack had grown, almost magically.  I was on lookout now, like an Indian Scout, and it became clear that my parents had become experts at this scheme.

Photo Credit: boyscoutstore.com
In the irksome boredom of the days just before Christmas when youthful anxiety makes you feel like you could scream, I gave into temptation and carefully peeled back the tape on the shopping bags containing the gifts.  Before long, I had experienced my own Christmas morning beforehand alone in the attic room.  It sure felt hollow but there was one overwhelming satisfaction.  The Boy Scout ax, the good one with the sure fit handle, was there in my stack of gifts.  There was nothing else in the world I wanted more than that ax! 

Christmas Eve was a bit of a let down, the anticipation was gone.  Sure I was excited for my brothers and sisters, a lot of the gifts they had their hearts set on were going to arrive by sleigh but my surprise was over, or was it?  Christmas morning, we all flooded into mom and dad’s bedroom at the appointed time, not before 7:00 AM were our instructions.  As we ripped through the gifts, something was wrong.  The items that I had seen were there, the new sweater, shirt, socks, and pants were all there YUK! But were was that ax?  I couldn’t say anything yet I knew it was missing.  I scoured the empty boxes and wrapping paper in a panic, but could not find the missing treasure, it was gone.  Later that morning my father pulled me aside and explained “Tom, I know that you went through the gifts in the attic and your mother and I discussed it and decided to return the ax that we had purchased for you.  You have many other gifts that you should be happy with but we both felt that we needed to teach you a lesson.” 

It has been more than 40 years since that Christmas morning.  And I thank God for my parents and the integrity they instilled in me and all of my brothers and sisters really that was their greatest gift.  They also taught us the true meaning of Christmas that is the gift that God has given us in his Son.   I am also glad that the scripture tells us that “God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29
First Five Jones Kids:  Kath, Karen, Tim, Tom (the author) and Ted


  1. Wow. Quite a lesson learned. I was wondering how you would get away with the tape removal. Lol.
    A lovely story.

  2. That made me tear up. Being one of eight I remember those days. This story brought back a flood of memories.

    I imagine that was just as hard on your parents as it was your brother.

    Beautiful story
    Thanks for sharing

  3. What a great lesson. I'm not sure I could have followed through with that one. Good for them!

  4. Very cool! Love the post! Liz

  5. wow! sounds like something my mother would have done.

  6. Kathy, you're right...he's a closet blogger! What an excellent letter! What an excellent lesson to learn. I too remember finding the secret hiding place, but my parents didn't know I knew. A wonderful story though. It truly does spoil the surprise!

  7. This sure brought back memories! I'm the oldest of five. I used to go on the hunt, too, for the gifts from Santa and would find my mom's hiding places. I think she knew. She knew everything! Even the photo reminds me of my siblings and me. I had the same hairdo!

  8. Classic 1950s photo. So great. You could substitute the faces of so many of my friends and we'd all look just perfect in these get-ups.


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