The writing prompt this week is “The Best Gift You Could Give Me This Christmas,” courtesy of Deanna Dennis at A Long Run. This one is easy peasy! I don’t really have a list of presents that I am hoping for this year–I just want a Big Gay Christmas.
Big Gay is my stepmother. My fairy stepmother, because she has a gift for spreading magic all around her and making it look easy. Christmas Eve at their house is my favorite family event of the year. We call her “Big Gay” because we have more than one Gay in the family–my sister is named Gay and our stepmother is, too. And we grew up in Gay, Georgia for that matter. So when Daddy married Gay, we had to distinguish–thus Big Gay and Little Gay.
Here are a few things that make a Big Gay Christmas the best day in my year:
1. Big Gay puts great thought and effort into decorating. It makes me feel special to be surrounded by that much beauty. Even during the years when she worked retail and didn’t get home until 8pm on Christmas Eve, we still had a glowing tree, fresh garlands and coconut cakes. She once told me, “There’s so much in life that you can’t control, it just makes sense to me to make things as lovely as possible when you can.”
2. Big Gay gives gifts that are carefully chosen for each person. And every gift is wrapped in gorgeous paper and ribbon with a handwritten and tied gift tag. One year, she gave me a white terry bath robe “because writers need a good robe.” There were plenty of years when our gifts came from the pawn shop, but they were just what we had asked for. One year when the grandchildren were small and LOVED opening presents, Big Gay went to the dollar store and bought all five of them 20 presents each. Every plastic soldier or bottle of bubbles was lovingly wrapped and ribboned, then piled up in the middle of the floor so the kids could sort through 100 presents!
3. Everyone gets a place at the table. This might require extra tables in the kitchen and out on the porch, but each guest will have a seat and a lovely plate full of good food. Big Gay makes sure the kids have tiny forks that fit their hands and cups that they can hold. Papa asks the blessing and cries.
4. Even though Big Gay’s house looks like a spread in House Beautiful, it’s home. It’s comfortable. You can take your shoes off and unbutton your pants after dinner.
5. At Nana and Papa’s house, the kids can be kids. This is the best part of Big Gay Christmas to me–there is magic tucked in every corner. Frosty leaves his hat lying around. Jumping on the furniture is tolerated and soccer in the library is perfectly fine. Santa calls to tell everyone it’s time for bed. Elmo chills out with a smoke. We laugh and we laugh and we laugh.
That’s the present I’m most excited about this year–Big Gay Christmas. It’s fabulous.
My writing group is pondering this theme today. Check out other thoughts at A Long Run!