My grandparents never forgot the Great Depression. Granddaddy talked about not having “one red cent!” Everything was bartered. They traded farm-raised pigs, cattle, chickens and what they grew in their garden for sugar, flour and other necessities. Necessities were all they thought about. There was never any money leftover for extras.
Even as their lives improved after the Great Depression ended, my grandparents never stopped being frugal with their money. It was a way of life. They purchased a home and paid it off in five years. (Unheard of these days!)
They purchased new cars every three to five years with a note to pay them off in a year. Everything else was paid in cash and what they did buy was always very modest. Like I said, no extras. Not even for their grandchildren.
You always knew what they were getting you for your birthday and Christmas – socks and underwear. What kid looks forward to that?? At the time, we just didn’t understand where they were coming from.
Our grandparents have been gone for a long time now and through the years my brothers and I have laughed about those socks and underwear.
So a few years ago for Christmas, I decided to wrap up some socks and underwear for my brothers. The gift tag said it was from Grandma Cleaver. I asked them to open their presents at the same time. When they opened their package, they got the joke right away and they both smiled from ear to ear!
Of course these days, you don’t have to settle for boring, plain white socks and underwear. Underwear comes in every size, color and shape imaginable. You can get them with logos of sports teams and some even have quotes. Socks are the same way. You can purchase athletic and dress socks with all kinds of designs. So much fun!
As grown men, my brothers appreciate the much needed socks and underwear. (Hey, it keeps them from having to go shopping for them.) And each year they look forward to the tradition of Grandma Cleaver’s gift.
Think about renewing a Christmas gift tradition in your family or start a new one. If I may, I suggest the socks and underwear – as they are still necessities!
The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value. – Charles Dudley Warner