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This year for Christmas Day I was by myself. Let me clarify that I was not alone, as all of the people who love me made sure I was contacted, gifted and thought of for the holiday. I didn’t necessarily think of it as spending Christmas alone, just spending Christmas by myself. I had already spent a wonderful time with my step-daughter and her family on Christmas Eve. My other adult children were busy with in-laws on Christmas day, but called me and wished me well, as did a cousin or two. When they called, I expressed my appreciation for their gifts and how much they mean to me. This made me realize that this year what I wanted to concentrate on for the holidays was THE LOOT. Being by myself, I could indulge my desire to receive gifts and relish how much fun it is to open them and be surprised.

I was well rewarded for my plan because I scored big this year! From the exquisite jewelry made by my cousin, who is a jeweler, to the very expensive set of re-usable kitchen bags and a hand-crafted jewelry box from the grand kids, I really made out. Each gift was amazing unto itself. I have no illusions about the cost of any of these items. Whether the givers were here in town, or as I said, visiting in-laws, each gift was substantial. Cha-ching!

There was no one but me on Christmas morning, so I ripped open all the wrapping paper. I was not going to set an example of recycling for anyone this year because I was by myself. Ha ha! I threw ribbons on the ground, shredded paper that wouldn’t come off easily, tossed packages aside. What a mess. What I got for my efforts was some pretty amazing stuff and I was really happy about it. Reasoning that I would spend the day in my apartment running my hands over each present, I thoroughly enjoyed each item. I appreciated their colors, the length, heft, form and, yes, the practicality in some cases, of each gift. But this year was not about practicality. It was about giving in to my baser instincts. Which was about all the stuff that I got from people who couldn’t be with me, so they felt guilty and sent me some great presents.

If we are to believe the pundits who encourage us to get in touch with our inner child, this Christmas I completely gave in to that notion. It made me happy and looking at the thoughtfulness and the efforts my family went to, it made me feel loved. I even had a brief moment of looking up in the sky for . . .no, he doesn’t really exist. But I felt like he did and it was so much fun.

Next Christmas will be filled with lots of people around, food to be cooked, babies to be soothed and discussions to be mediated. This year, for one day, it was all about me and the things everyone sent to make me feel special. What a gift.