• 90°

‘Tis more blessed to give than receive

Christmas 2004 has come and gone. Some of the well-loved faces – my dad, Benny’s mom – are no longer present at our family celebrations and they are sorely missed.

Other family members are far away. Our nephew Clint is now serving in the Navy and niece Shannon is teaching English in Korea (where she ate Christmas dinner at Burger King, of all places).

Every year finds changes, some happy and some, sad, but one thing remains constant for me: I love watching other people opening their gifts. Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy getting goodies from my hubby, family and friends.

Thank goodness I have moved beyond my childhood tendency to count the number of package under the tree, in order to make sure I had at least one or two more than everybody else did (hey, I was the youngest and a little bit spoiled, what can I say).

Nowadays, I enjoy watching my mom &uot;ooh&uot; and &uot;aah&uot; over the beauty items I stuffed inside her stocking (a big grin when she discovers the bag of Cheetos – the woman is part mouse, I swear).

I like the glow I see when Mama spies the pretty lapis and gold necklace and bracelet my sister Sara gave her, or the new spring green outfit from big sister Deb.

I think my sisters must enjoy it, too, as we all wait and watch Mama before we bother to start opening our own presents (I am busy taking photos, too, so we can remember those moments in the years to come).

And my sisters’ reaction didn’t disappoint me, either. Sara gave me a regular bear hug over the new DVD player (&uot;hey&uot;, I told her, &uot;it’s time to move into the 21st century, sis&uot;) and the DVDs for the 1951 version of &uot;A Christmas Carol&uot; and &uot;Scrooge&uot; from 1970 – two of our personal favorites. God bless us, everyone!

Deb got a good laugh when she saw the title of the book I gave her – &uot;Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother&uot; (already a step mom to the adorable Hope, my oldest niece Heather is now expecting her first child. Needless to say, we are all excited).

Deb had just remarked brooches were very big this year (she had given one to Mom) when she discovered we’d given her a pretty pink starburst pin and

matching earrings – and funny how they went so well with the multi-hued boucle jacket, sweater and skirt Mama gave her!

Funny, too, how well the deep wine-colored slacks I gave her also went with the jacket and top…

OK, I actually did all the legwork at Goody’s, but Mama gave her seal of approval on the items. (It’s awfully fun to shop when someone else is footing the bill.)

I’m not generally into giving money or gift certificates – somehow it seems like a copout – but my teenage nephew sure looked happy when he saw that card from Best Buy, as did our niece and nephew-in-law when they got their Wal-Mart gift card. After all, practical is sometimes the best way to go. It’s not about you, the giver, anyway – it’s about the recipient, after all.

I don’t know how long the toys and dolls we bought for our Long nieces and nephew will hold up, but we sure enjoyed watching them play with their new goodies on Christmas Eve.

All in all, I was reminded once more it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.

Here’s hoping you all had a Merry Christmas, too.

Angie Long is the lifestyles reporter for the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.