I remember the first time I started what has now become a silly tradition for me at Christmas time. I was about 13 or 14 and I was spending my extra dollars from babysitting on gifts for my family when I saw it…something with my name on it! Literally, the item had my first name on it!

You know that section of any gift store with pens or magnets with name after name of “Jennifer, or “David” inscribed on these personalized items? I never, ever, find my name on those racks.  I may find a “Kristin” or “Kristy” but “Kirsten” is just too unique, I guess.

So this silly Christmas tradition of mine has nothing to do with baking, or decorating, or caroling. It does have something to do with gifts. Actually it has something to do with one gift. And it may seem a wee bit selfish but every year I end up finding, buying, wrapping and opening a gift with no one listed in the “From” section on the tag. This gift FOR me is actually “From”….me!

It happened quite by accident that first year. I was finishing up my shopping, browsing around the mall, when there it was – a cute, easy-looking cross-stitch craft kit of a little stocking with the name “Kirsten” on the sample image. (Not that it actually had my name inscribed on it, like all those pens and magnets, but the sample used my name!) Never before had I ever seen my name, with the exact spelling, used on any product!

I was young and impulsive, so I bought the little craft kit and smiled to myself and I knew exactly what I would do. I would wrap and place the gift under the tree, address it to myself and perhaps even write that it was from “Santa”. I smiled thinking about that moment when I opened it and feigned surprise. My parents and siblings would look at each other and wonder who had bought that gift. Silly, yes, but it made me happy to think of that funny moment, almost like I’d played a trick on them all.

That moment came, and yes, they were all dumbfounded. I saw the wondering looks from my mom to my dad, saying “Did you get that for her?” “Not me, you?” And yes, it was a funny moment that I enjoyed immensely!

It just so happens that every year since, while out shopping for everyone else, I always seem to find a little something that catches my eye that I pick up and wrap and place under the tree or in my own stocking.

It is quite silly and maybe a tad selfish but it just seems to happen. It’s my own funny Christmas tradition. (Don’t get me wrong, I am a very giving person and love buying loads of gifts for the people in my life!)

This year I was browsing at a local store I have fallen in love with, “Lazy Susan’s”, a mix of vintage and new items in the Fairfield Plaza, when I came across some new items they must have just put out. They had a rack full of journals and the covers were made from old books or Scrabble Boards or cut square records and bound with a random assortment of papers to make them new again.

One stood out to me and I just had to grab it. The cover was from an old book that I actually own called, “Minnow Vail”. I found the book it at my grandparent’s house on a bookshelf and my mom remembered it from her teen years. The story is cute and campy of a tomboyish girl who yearns to grow up and be seen as a child no longer but a pretty young woman. To quote from the cover, “She was assured, too, of what she had always suspected – that growing up was a wonderfully complicated and exciting experience.” – something I am still being reminded of even at my own age.

My family has many other fun and meaningful Christmas traditions I’ll share in more detail some other time. Maybe I’ll tell you about all the yummy and savoury treats my mom makes or how we wrap every little item in our stockings…from the smallest earring to even a bar of soap, or maybe I’ll tell you about the special Christmas decorating that we do every year. I’ll tell you…some other time.

Do you do anything silly around Christmas time?
Any weird traditions?

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