The Holiday Shop

If there was one thing I thought I knew about my child it is this:  He cannot keep a secret.

Early in December, Sean brought home a flyer from school announcing the annual Holiday Shop!  I put the exclamation point there so you might know just how thrilled I was with this news.

The flyer reported which classes would visit the Holiday Shop on which days and at what time.  The flyer also stated with vehemence (probably inferred on my part) that there would be NO preview this year and that the vendor was the same as last year and that it was NOT a school fundraiser.  It was totally for-profit crunk selling.

As it turns out, we were not at the school last year, so that information, vehement or otherwise, was not useful to me.

What information I did require was the following:  What in the heck is a Holiday Shop? What kind of holiday crunk is stocked in Ye Olde Holiday Shoppe, and most importantly how much does this crunk cost?  Oh, and hey, what about the kiddos who have no Holiday Shop spending money?  And then the question I always have when it comes to these kinds of extra-curricular events:  Can’t we just do math or phonics instead?

So as usual when faced with a conundrum, I called my friend Jennifer who knows stuff.  She gave me the low-down on the Holiday Shop and a suggested a budget of about $5 to $10.

When I talked to Sean later, I asked him about how much he thought he needed for this shopping spree.  He said about $30.  So I said, how about $5?  He said how about $10?  I said how about I give you $5 and you take $5 out of your bank.  He said, “Deal!” and we shook on it and signed the papers.

Then we had a little chat about how this was Christmas, not Seanmas, and that the purpose of the Holiday Shop was so that he might buy presents for others, and by others I meant People Who Are Not Sean.  Then we had a discussion about fractions and percentages as we negotiated about how much he could spend on himself.

The next day I sent him off to school with his $5 and my $5 expecting the same winning results you might get in Las Vegas.  When he came home from school I asked to see his purchases.  With much pride he showed me the Cowboys pennant he bought for his father and the camouflage-motif pencil he bought for Papa George.  And then he showed me the dog-tag style necklace with a soccer pendant he bought for himself.

“Did you get anything else?” I asked coyly, “Anything for anyone else?”

“Nope,” he said definitively and handed me the $7.25 he did not spend.

I chuckled to myself as I turned his backpack inside out looking for the other gifts. Surely there were other gifts, surely.  But no….

We wrapped the pennant and the pencil and put them under the tree and I thought no more of it because I knew my broken and wounded heart would someday mend.

On Christmas Eve I unwrapped the gifts from my big boyfriend and my little boyfriend — an ornament from Target which I had purchased myself and handed off to big boyfriend for wrapping, and a pair of much-needed slippers which I requested.  No surprises there but much delight all the same.

“Oh, one more thing Mom!” Sean said as he dove under the tree.  He returned with a tiny package, merrily wrapped with a ribbon and secured with a lot of tape.  He handed it to me, glowing, as though it were a jewel he had just plucked from its slumber in the earth.

I couldn’t imagine what it could be but suspected it was something that he had made at school, something with glitter and glue and probably macaroni.

Inside was a pretty little ring with a blue stone that he had purchased at the Holiday Shop.

“Are you surprised Mom? Are you? You thought I forgot you, didn’t you!” he laughed.

“It cost a dollar!” he enthused, then  quickly added, “I’m sorry it’s not a real diamond.”

“I love it,” I said with all honestly.

I slipped it on my finger, adjusted the band for a custom-fit and then held out my hand to admire it.

It was a complete surprise.

It was beautiful.

It pinched my finger.

And my heart.

30 thoughts on “The Holiday Shop

  1. Very sweet! My mother-in-law gave me something my hubby made for her when he was a little boy. She kept it all these years and now I’m the proud owner of a soapdish/ashtray/oval bowl thingie. It even has his initials carved in little boy writing on the bottom. I love that she thought to give it to me.

    Thanks so much for a heart-melting story about your loveable little guy.


  2. I have not been here in a long time and just thought it was time to comment. When my girls were in elementary school, they loved going to the “Santa Shop” and buying gifts. My oldest daughter once gave me a necklace she had purchased there, and she wanted me to wear it to church. I was hesitant to wear it because it was already tarnished at the time of purchase and would probably turn my neck green, but how do you say no to an 8-year-old who picked out that very special necklace just for her Mom? So I wore it to church, got some strange looks from some people, but my daughter was so happy. She is almost 21 years old now, and I still have that necklace!!


  3. Each first Sunday after Christmas all the mothers sat in church wearing lovely “diamond” necklaces, pins, and rings. And our children would all be beaming!! My sons are now 16 and 18 and I still have all the lovely jewelry tucked away in my jewelry box. I have received lovely real diamond rings and pendants from my husband over the years, but none are quite as beautiful as the ones handed to me in very small, securely taped packages from the Santa’s Workshop at school.


  4. I love the pale blue rhinestone heart on the silver chain that turns my neck green from my son. And the BEST MOM mirror my other son gave me. The Holiday store rocks!


  5. Thank you for a wonderful, heartwarming story. Makes me think of my mom, who still to this day has the tiny tile trivet with a duck in a scarf painted on it…..proudly bought by me at Santa’s Secret Shop, circa 1980.


  6. I love that boy of yours. Will you loan him out to me every now and then now that mine is off to college?

    WOW that could sound stockerish. haha So not meant to be. You just mealted my heart with that story.

    Have a great week!


  7. What a wonderful story! Makes me a little sad that I will never know such joy from a son (I have wonderful daughters). But the day may come when I might find nearly the same thing from a son-in-law. One can only wish….


  8. I got one of those rings from my little boyfriend bought from a similar Holiday Shop! in his own school. It only fits on my little finger (and it pinches too), but when I look at it I smile with tears stinging my eyes.


  9. Wow! A secret kept! Awesome. And this: “it’s not Seanmas” – equally awesome. How I would have loved to have had that arrow in my parenting quiver about thirteen years ago.


  10. Oh, I have the best rings given to me by my son. Each of them is more valuable then gold or precious stones. I wear them still, on special occasions. You will treasure that ring forever.


  11. that is absolutely stinkin’ fabulous! way to go, sean, for surprising you! fantastic.

    i bet he was so, so pleased with himself. 🙂

    thanks for sharing!


  12. Oh how lovely.

    I am wearing a pendant that my 13 year old son made in ‘glass cutting’ elective. It’s beautiful (though the metal loop at the top is a little to one side, so it doesn’t hang straight, but guess what? that makes me love it all the more).

    Gifts and secrets. Two lovely aspects of childhood.


  13. My 5-year-old gets to do something like this at our church, using points he’s earned at kid’s club. When he was 4 he bought gifts for three relatives (not me), and this past Christmas when I asked him who he would be buying for he immediately named three other relatives (again, not me) and proceeded to tell me very emphatically and without a moment’s hesitation for whom he would be buying gifts each Christmas for the rest of his grade school years. Every possible relation was mentioned, including one who died several years ago, with one glaring exception that you can no doubt guess. 🙂 My story does not have the sweet ending of yours… but someday I hope it will! Yay for Sean for surprising you!


  14. I have a whole drawer full of those rings and necklaces and pens from what our school called Santa’s Secret Shop. My youngest bought me a silver cross necklace with a tiny “diamond” chip in it. Sometimes I pull it out and actually wear it, and whenever I do she notices. Funny how those little trinkets are so important to them, and to us.


  15. Awww, so sweet. I scored a sweet star necklace from my daughter–bought it at the school Halloween party/dance. She’s in 6th grade. 😀


  16. Aww, how sweet. Thanks for telling another wonderful tale. Hmmm, is learning to keep a secret a good thing? It definately shows he is growing up. Blessings :o)


  17. How sweet. Our school did a holiday shop this year too. I have 3 kids that go to school and 3 that stay home, so each school kid was assigned 2 kids to shop for and then they could shop for others if they had enough money. I was very happy to find out a couple of them bought for friends who did not have money. If they didn’t have enough money to buy for mom and dad they came home and wrapped random things they found! So they gave us recycled junk but totally cute anyway.


  18. Love it!

    Lauren wrapped me up a bunch of my business cards and gave them to me for Christmas. And everyone else in the family. They were thrilled.


    * * *
    Oh that’s funny! But it begs two questions: Is it re-gifting when you give somebody something of their own? Is it re-gifting when you give somebody something that belongs to someone else? Hmmm…..


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