penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

White Elephant

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Today I opened the fifteenth door of my advent calendar and found…a white elephant.

Each year, our school holds a white elephant sale (known as the “Christmas sale” but an animal that big can’t be hidden behind a disguise like that).  Parents are encouraged to bring items into the school that they no longer need or want.  They are also encouraged to send in gift bags, wrapping paper and ribbon. Then on the appointed day, children are to be sent to school with small coins in their pocket to buy items for family members.  The older kids help the younger ones wrap them and put tags on them.

This is one of the most exciting times of the year for the kids – they get to go out and buy a gift for their parent and siblings.  They get to do it on their own, and pick something that has meaning for them to give to someone else – without input from any meddling parent or brother or sister telling them what to buy.  They don’t need to worry about how much money they have, and they are doing a double service by keeping all that stuff out of the land fill (believe me – by the end of the day it ALL sells).

Opening these special gifts has become one of my favourite traditions Christmas morning.  I no longer have the children buy each other gifts from a store – these gifts have so much more meaning.  I can tell that when my children are at this sale, they are really thinking about the person that they are buying for – and they have really unique choices to pick from.  Over the years I have received earrings shaped like butterflies. Beaded necklaces. Gingerbread soap.  A porcelain statue of a young sprite with red hair – it reminds me of my daughter and I keep it on my desk at work.  The children are so proud of their choices and so excited to watch people open them.

Today was the day the children got to chose their white elephants to bring home.  When I came to pick them up from school and daycare they had a sparkle in their eye and a mangled wrapped package in their hand. I can hardly wait until Christmas to see what is inside.

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Written by pennyinacastle

December 17, 2014 at 2:04 am

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