My Dad’s Idea Of Gift Giving

Since my father’s passing I’ve been honoring his memory by telling some of my favorite stories about him.  Here’s one from a long, long time ago.  You can read more of them by clicking the “BetheBoy Dad Stories” link below.

In case you ever find yourself spending the holidays with my family you better be ready to make a list. It was made very clear years ago that we’d get what we wanted but nobody was going to read our minds. Those who don’t make it clear what they want do so at their own risk because as a family we have little concept of what constitutes an acceptable gift. In my family it has always been perfectly acceptable to give food as gifts. When I say food I don’t mean gift baskets like Hickory Farms products, I’m talking about things like a can of olives, spaghetti, some pepperoni, and maybe gum.

Now you might think that groceries make an awful gift but if you do, you’re missing out. The food giving tradition has been going on for decades but my father turned it into something of a holiday art form. You see, as my brother, sister and I got older we asked for fewer things; one year, after wrapping up all of the gifts dad felt it just didn’t look like enough, and so he improvised, by calling upon a family tradition. That Christmas morning we found what looked to be a Christmas miracle, we had only asked for a few things but there were stacks upon stacks of presents waiting for us.

Despite being at or close to adulthood we all pounced on the piles like little kids, shaking the packages and wondering what could be inside. I went first, opening that first one slowly and great with anticipation, much to my father’s amusement. I’m pretty sure it was a box of Jell-o mix inside of a bigger box, and everyone laughed until the started unwrapping cans of vegetables and boxes of crackers. Eventually we got to the real presents but we we’re still laughing over the fake ones. Over the years the fake gift  became my father’s holiday tradition.  Each year he worked new items into the mix…and every year we laughed about it like it was the first time.

So, each year since I’ve moved away, when I’m asked if there’s something I want I don’t ask for a thing. This means I’m likely to be sitting by the Christmas tree with the a jar of peanut butter and some canned peaches, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Note: This story first appeared here back in 2007 and a few days after I posted it a package appeared at my door.  It was from my father and it is pictured below:




Filed under Betheboy Dad Stories

7 responses to “My Dad’s Idea Of Gift Giving

  1. Can’t go wrong with Skippy & Del Monte. Good story, sir.

  2. Laura

    Best thing ever.
    I really look forward to these stories. Thanks.

  3. that is love right there sitting in that box.

  4. found you on Five Star Friday. This story is really touching. It reminds me of my late father. In our family there was always a big gag gift – a large duct taped box containing things like Kraft Dinner, toilet brushes, and the like. Ultimately they were all useful but we had a great laugh as that box got opened. Thanks for posting.

  5. This is awesome. What a great way to remember your dad.

  6. I love this. I’m here thanks to Five Star Friday and thrilled to have found your blog. As someone who recently lost her father, this sweet story, this tapestry of truth and memory and humor, really resonated with me. I will be back for more.

  7. Oh, I love it. I *love* when parents start kookie traditions that are so wonderful! My mother has sooo many, and it pains me to think that some day she won’t be around to do them.
    (btw, I’m here through Five Star Friday and I really like your blog!)

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