Merry Christmas to you. Even to those who aren’t deeply religious, if they have some sort of a Christian background, Christmas is a day of peace, love and caring.
In Wyoming, for most people, December means Christmas. Some families celebrate Hanukkah and some celebrate Kwanzaa, but almost everyone in this area celebrates a holiday in which the exchange of gifts is a part. It’s not the biggest part, but it often gets highest billing. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel I am wise beyond my years in knowing that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the giving and receiving associated with the season, as long as you keep in mind the reason for the celebration.
Many families in this part of the country also put quite a bit of emphasis on outdoor pursuits. For that reason, binoculars, snowshoes, skis, shotguns, rifles, fly rods and camouflage clothing were probably under quite a few trees in The Cowboy State. Some of this gear will see its first use in the next few days. But some of these gifts will sit dormant for several months.
Some of those gifts will be much more than the object wrapped up in a box. That’s often the case with gifts that relate to the outdoors. Very often, kids get Christmas gifts that let them take part in outdoor activities with Mom and Dad. And those are very often the gifts that are remembered for decades to come.
The gifts don’t have to be fancy. If the family likes to downhill ski, a set of skis under the tree is a set of skis under the tree. The brand name on them doesn’t – or shouldn’t – matter. The important thing is that the skis let that kid take part in the family ski trips.
The same is true, and maybe even more so, with hunting and fishing gear. It’s one thing to tag along with your dad when he goes hunting, but it’s even better when you get to start packing a rifle or bow yourself. And when that gun or bow actually belongs to you, it’s a million times more meaningful.
For some kids, it doesn’t matter whether they can use their gifts right away or be forced to wait the better part of a year to put them to use. They’ll have such a need to get the full experience out of their presents that they’ll insist on having them at hand all day, every day for weeks.
To illustrate, a few decades ago, Santa Claus brought a young boy who will not be identified here a set of plastic snowshoes. That kid strapped them over his slippers and headed for the back door. He tromped around the yard for several hours, not caring that there was only a quarter-inch of snow on the ground.
Just remember, no matter how excited you are about your presents or how good you feel about how happy the gifts you’ve given others have made them, there is a higher meaning to this day. Keep in mind that the presents you give and get today are secondary to the gift all of mankind was given more than 2,000 years ago.