No - I'm not talking about Santa Claus and his bag of gifts for all the little children around the world...
My Dad and I have had a very difficult relationship for a very long time. Difficult enough for me to say that although we have exchanged cards at Christmas, there has been no real effort on either of our parts to share much more of ourselves at Christmas, or any other day for that matter.
It hasn't always been this way between us - growing up and pretty much until Mom passed away, my father was one of the most important and loved adults in my life.
Time has not been kind to us, and we have not been kind to each other, and for both of us this has been very painful.
Dad turned 91 this past October, and just 2 weeks before his birthday, I turned 56. He sent me a card for my birthday, which is something he has not done in years - and so I in turn sent him a card, and a long letter and a few pictures.
And then I received another card a month later, and last Friday the postman brought yet another surprise from Dad. A Christmas Card - and a gift.
The gift wasn't wrapped in any paper so we were able to see what it was right away.
It was a painting Dad had done from one of the pictures I had sent him, of our newest family member, Chip.
My father didn't start painting until he was in his 60's and then when Mom passed, he quit altogether. It has just been in this past year that he as started again. I don't recall him ever painting other than scenery before, so this image of Chip must have been quite the challenge for him.
Still - he met that challenge, for me... and that notion gives me hope that our relationship might be changing for the good.
This gift has come from the heart. It was created with thought and talent and me in mind. It is not perfect - but the meaning behind it is perfect.... It is the perfect "Gift" of Christmas...