Monday, December 21, 2009

I wasn’t dreaming of a “White Christmas”…

Probably because we were living in Montana at the time and we already had lots and lots of snow to play in.

My father was stationed at Malmstrom AFB and I was a Brownie.

And even though I wasn’t dreaming about snow I was, however,spending a lot of time dreaming about the Brownie Christmas gift exchange…an exciting concept for almost-seven-year-old-me.

For the gift exchange we were supposed to buy a present for a girl. It was supposed to be a dollar gift, a sum that seemed like a fortune to me at the time.

I shopped for my gift with great and serious intent. I tried to choose but it was so hard. What gift to purchase for this momentous event?

I finally decided on a little doll. She was awfully cute. Little plastic molded on hair, a little plastic heart-shaped stand for her little plastic feet to slide in.

Oh, she was a beauty.

And I could scarcely contain myself in the days leading up to the Brownie meeting.
But finally the day arrived and my Mom left me at the meeting. Our Brownie leader carefully affixed little numbered slips of papers with scotch tape to each gift. I handed her my gift proudly. Did I mention the little molded on high heels the doll was wearing?

I was hoping that Susan would get my little gift in the exchange. I really liked Susan. She had long, curly brown hair and a gap-toothed smile and I was certain we would be best friends forever.

The meeting and the craft and the refreshments dragged on and on and on and on.
It felt like forever to almost-seven-year-old-me.

But the moment finally arrived and we all drew little folded-up pieces of paper from a shiny, green plastic bowl . The number on your slip of paper told you which gift you would receive. I got number 8.

The Brownie leader handed out the gifts. Number 8 was a box wrapped in red Santa Claus paper. There was a little red curling ribbon bow tied jauntily around the box.

I could hardly contain my excitement.

But I did.

I watched each Brownie open up her gift. What riches! There were some Christmas coloring books, one girl got a big box of crayons, there were barrettes and a hairbrush shaped liked Santa Claus. After each gift was opened the giver would proudly say “I picked that out!”

My gift finally got opened and although Susan didn’t get that number, the Brownie who received it opened her eyes wide in excitement. She fingered the little molded on hair and her mouth made a little “O” of enthusiasm. “I picked that out!” I told her proudly.

Finally it was my turn. I was almost last so it seemed like I had been waiting forever.

I carefully un-wrapped the Santa Claus paper.

I lifted the lid off.

Oooh. Tissue paper. I had tissue paper in my box. It was white and rustly.

All the little Brownies gathered around the box to watch me fold the paper back carefully.

And there on the tissue was a set of three little girl white panties.
I looked again.

Surely this could not be correct.

Surely someone did not give me UNDERWEAR for the Brownie gift exchange.

But someone did.

We all just sat and looked at the underwear for a minute. Or ten minutes. I’m not sure but it felt like an eternity. My Brownie leader tried to be enthusiastic, “oh my, now you will have some nice new underwear for Christmas, Jenny!” but I have to be honest that my joy didn’t match her perky, happy voice.

I wanted to cry.

But I didn’t.

No-one spoke up and said “I picked that out!” so I never knew who actually gave the gift of underwear.

The final two girls opened their little gifts and neither of them received underwear. I don’t remember what they got but I’m certain it wasn’t white and stretchy.

And I’m certain that the song “White Christmas” wasn’t written for a brown eyed Brownie who got white underwear in a gift exchange but this is often what pops into my head when I hear this song…

“I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
with every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your gifts of underwear be white.”



Prim2Pink said...

That is hilarious!!!
I do hope you get some more delightful presents this year.

Drama Queen said...

Oh, Jenny - I feel your pain.

In the 3rd grade gift exchange at school, we put the gifts under our chairs and did a "Musical Chairs" thing - we all walked around and when the music stopped, we sat down - and whatever gift was under your chair was "yours."

I opened up my gift - and it was a 45-single by Bobby Sherman - "Judy, Judy" - and I thought Bobby Sherman was da' BOMB! I loved him. I was thrilled. My very first record. I couldn't wait to go home and put it on my mom and dad's record player.

The girl next to me, Claire, got an orange stuffed dog. It was hideously ugly. And Claire then said to the teacher, "Teacher! This is my own gift! I brought the dog!"

And the teacher did the unthinkable. She made me trade my Bobby Sherman record for Claire's orange stuffed dog. So Claire wouldn't go home with her own gift.

I was crushed. Upset. Disappointed. Mad. Furious. Pouting. I did not want an orange dog. I wanted Bobby.

Sigh. Isn't it funny the things we never forget? I guess I should be thankful it wasn't underwear!


Mardell said...

Oh my!! I can see if your parent bought you some (for you to open at home), but not for a Brownie exchange. Dear Lord! Now I'll always think of this story when I hear that song! Ha ha.

The Pink Birdhouse said...

Jenny, that has got to be the cutest, and also the saddest story ever. I can only imagine how you must have felt, getting underwear when all the other little girls were getting such lovely girly gifts, and the worst pain of all is that you had to give away that delightful doll and see someone else with joy written on her face and all your got was underwear. I think after reading this, we ALL will be singing that song differently from now on, and thinking of you as a Brownie so long ago!! you had a real nice way of telling the story. Sure was a pleasure reading about it. One year my sister knitted my son a sweater and put his name on it, and I was so thrilled, but when he saw what he had gotten at our family-gift exchange, all his cousins got puzzles and games, but he got "only" a sweater, we tried to cheer him up too. He never forgot that, and I felt bad for my sister who had put so much work into his present. Ditto on the crocheted afghan he got from my mother, and of course was disappointed in since he had been hoping for toys from her. Ahhh, the woes of Xmas presents of the past. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, hugs, Debby

Diana said...

Hi Jenny,
First I want to thank you for thinking of me. It's been very rough.
When I read your story today, I truly felt your disappointment. I felt your bursting bubble. I know it doesn't mean much now but I'm sorry anyway! Love Di

Suz said...

I'm reading your post and getting all excited to see how it turns out and my phone rings!!!!!!!!!! I answer it only to return to find out it was WHITE UNDERWEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good grief...I feel shafted TOO

Leslie said...

This is the cutest story ever...but sad too. This reminds me of my niece (who's now 17) opening her gifts when she was about 4, saying "SOCKS?? WHO got me SOCKS???" Luckily, it wasn't me, her cool aunt:)

Julie Schuler said...

But if you didn't get the underwear we would be much poorer today, for not getting to hear such a sweet story

Martha's Favorites said...

I am so sorry about the gift. However, I am also sure you will get better gifts latter on in the week. Blessings, Martha

Suz said...

Now I like your blog friend Julie Schuler...she has a good attitude

laterg8r said...

this is why secret santa SUCKS!!!

Dixie said...

LOL... Oh Jenny... that is so funny. You know, we've all gotten that "disappointing" gift.. But it's so difficult when you're a child...

Last year, at a family "White Elephant" gift exchange (gifts are suppose to be $25), I ended up with an Auto Detail Kit... needless to say... Ricky was very excited... me... I'd rather have had some nice new white underwear myself...

Christmas Blessings. Dixie

Carol said...

Lady, you are so talented....loved the story...your so COOL! Too cool for a 'white Christmas'!!

Kristen and Sean said...

Oh Jenny - think how happy you'd be nowadays to get a gift of new underwear that you didn't have to go pick out and buy yourself! You are too funny....

Noelle said...

i was so full of joyous excitement waiting for you to open your gift...and then i almost cried when you finally revealed what you got!

you are a master story teller!

Jana said...

OH MY, poor seven year old Jenny, I dont even know what to say, but you may be shocked to know, I totally giggled, Im twisted like sorry...

the link works on the pumpkin crepes with caramel sauce now...sorry bout that! it was broken somehow...

red.neck chic said...


What a wonderful way to start my morning! Thank You!!!

And - thank you for coming to visit me!!!

;-) Robelyn

Catherine said...

Oh dear ... thank you for sharing your White Christmas with us! LOL!!! I've never received underwear in a gift exchage, though I did get a 4-pack of lightbulbs one year ... certainly less horrifying, though still a very odd gift. Especially since I made cutesy cloth-covered photo albums ;) . My husband (who would not be amused at me sharing this in blogland... but since he never reads blogs, surely he'll never know) used to get undies from his mother every year for Christmas. The great part about that is that she insists that everyone open their gifts one at a time so we can all see what everyone gets. I could hardly contain myself the first Christmas I spent at her house and my fiancee opened his "box of underwear" ... not just white ones mind you, but zebra striped and leopard print bikini undies!!! OH, you have just given me an idea for the "perfect" gift for him this year ...(I won't tell him I got the idea from you).

Catherine said...

Me again ;) ...
THANK YOU so much for the lovely lemons! They arrived yesterday, which was a fabulous treat on the first day of winter :) .
I'll be making some lemony goodies this afternoon, and smelling those gorgeous yellow beauties every time I walk by the overflowing fruit bowl! Now I want my own lemon tree, too :) .
Blessings to you and yours,
Catherine :)

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

I think we have all been there! What a story you have to tell... thanks for sharing it with us!

Maybe the little girl who picked it out really thought it was a great gift, maybe she wished she had new ones. You just never know! :)

My name is PJ. said...

Christmas fun is all about dashing through the snow, not dashing the holiday hopes of an almost 7-year old! I've been in similar positions.

No kid picked underwear out for a grab bag gift! Nuh-uh. That's the choice of some hurried, disinterested mom. (but 3/$1 is quite a buy!)

Imagine being the unknown little girl on Christmas morning. She knows what she's getting.

Hoity Toity Baby said...


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Anonymous said...

Awww sad for 7 year old you !! but what a cute truly do tell a good stry. White underwear ~OMG, that Mom should still be ashamed!!!

Linda B said...

It's me Jenny, I'm anonymous - Linda B....don't know how that happened.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Oh no --I feel so bad for you! I remember when I was around the same age one of my friends was hit by a car --she was not badly hurt but had to stay in bed for a week. I wanted to give her a "get well" gift so I took my favorite colorforms set to her. Another girl from our class arrived with a big beautifully wrapped present and my friend threw my gift on the floor and played with her gift instead ....and I was crushed.

It's funny how things like that can stick in our minds forever.

Now I know that gifts don't count's the thought and love behind them that does.

Hope you get all you wish for from Santa this year!

Hugs, Pat