Some of my fondest memories as a child were from the Christmas season. Christmas morning was full of anticipation, excitement and thrill as we woke up to see what Santa had shoved down the chimney.
We only had one rule: Mom and Dad told us we couldn’t wake up before 7 a.m. That was torture! My sister, brother and I would all get into one bed and anxiously wait until the clock finally hit 7. Then we would sprint down to Mom and Dad’s room, pull them out of bed, and picket to start opening gifts!
One of my favorite memories was from Christmas 2001. Dad kept telling us, “You all are going to love this Christmas!” That morning, we opened all of our gifts—grateful of course—but they weren’t anything spectacular. We asked why Dad kept mentioning how great this particular Christmas was going to be. Then, he left the room and brought back a medium-sized box.
He put the box down in front of us, and all of a sudden it started moving! Being the brave Ramsey child that I was, I blindly reached into the box and pulled out a puppy! We screamed and yelled, and we truly couldn’t believe our eyes. It was a little pug puppy! We named her Angel because it was a miracle mom and dad let us have a puppy.
Believe it or not, receiving that puppy wasn’t my best Christmas experience. The times that really stand out are the ones where my family focused on helping others have a great Christmas. For example, one year we bought gifts for three kids whose mom was single and couldn’t afford to get them anything. I will never forget going shopping and delivering the gifts to her door. I bought a Barbie that I personally wanted, but Mom walked me through the process of giving. She taught me how important it is to pass blessings on to others when God has blessed you.
We went up to their door about a week before Christmas, and the mom didn’t know what we were doing. When Dad explained that we wanted to bless them that Christmas, she fell to her knees crying. The little kids saw all the gifts, and their mouths dropped to the floor. Dad told them to have a very merry Christmas, and we walked off their front porch and got into the car.
It was a short encounter, but it’s a memory that will always stay with me. I have been blessed to be a part of many amazing stories like that as a kid. Understanding the gift of giving as a child has completely shaped the person I am today—all thanks to my parents’ passion for giving.