Christmas is quickly approaching, whether you want to admit it or not. I’m the kind of person that embraces the spirit early on in the season; putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, jamming to Christmas music in the car and watching A Christmas Story until the DVD melts in my video player.

I can’t help that I’m infected with the Christmas spirit. It gets inside of my body right after Halloween, makes a home for itself in my heart, and doesn’t move out until after the New Year.

One of my favorite things to do around Christmas time (besides receiving gifts) reminisces on gifts of Christmas past. Gifts that defined the true meaning of Christmas for me: buying your child the gift they’ve always wanted.

This may sound greedy, but let’s face it; there’s nothing more important than treating your child to the best Christmas ever…Each and every year. Spoiling them every Christmas so they too can one day do the same for their children. Just ask my sister, you can barely navigate through her living room with a number of gifts she buys for her two children.

This happened every Christmas at the Bean, Sr. house. Beginning in October, my parents began to pay attention to things that I said I wanted (or needed because back then, all wants were a need). I imagine they made a running list in their brains for every gift I said I wanted.

Every Christmas morning was full of excitement. What would be the ultimate gift this year?

The most prominent Christmas that comes to mind is the year I received my basketball hoop. I’ll never forget that day. Let me pull a Bob Ross and paint you a little bush over here for that Christmas morning:

All was quiet in the house. 6:30am. I couldn’t sleep any longer. I sprang from the top bunk of my solid wood bunk bed and hit the ground without a sound. I didn’t want to wake my parents.

I crept quietly to the living room. Tiptoe…Tiptoe.

The hallway was dimly lit by the soft glow from the Christmas lights on the tree. I just had to see what Santa left for my sister and me.

As I slowly peeked around the corner of the entrance to the living room, my eyes widened. There they stood; presents stacked neatly and organized by name in the living room. All the colors of the wrapping paper reflecting the lights from the tree. The fresh scent of the Christmas tree found its way to my nose.

I could barely hold in the excitement. My first thought was to creep back down the hallway to my sister’s room to wake her.

“Steph, wake up, it’s Christmas!”

Within three seconds, she was awake. She sprung out of bed quicker than I could move away, and we both snuck out to the living room for her first peek, and my second.

It was an unseasonably warm Christmas morning, the temperature at just the right degree to walk through your house without slippers or socks. Our feet sank into the carpet keeping us as quiet as a mouse.

We couldn’t hold in our excitement any longer. We had to wake our parents up as soon as our little feet could make their way to the back of our house.

“Mom, Dad, wake up. It’s Christmas! Come on guys, get up, there are gifts out there. Come on guys, you’re taking too long. Wake up.”

At first, we were kind in the way we asked. But with the excitement building in both of us, that kindness soon turned into demands more than requests.

After five minutes of yelling, pushing and poking, my parents finally rolled out of bed. Down the hall, we went with my sister and me leading the way.

It was here. Christmas was finally here.

My mom proceeded to give us our stockings and we scoured through them in a hurry, knowing the presents begged for us to open them. I could hear every gift calling my name, beckoning for me to tear them apart and see their insides.

And so Christmas began.

My sister and I ripped open our presents one by one. Wrapping paper littered the floor, which at this point was barely visible. My dad did his best to pick up the paper as we went along but to no avail.

I finished opening all of my gifts and I was extremely satisfied; completely contempt with the gifts that surrounded me like a Christmas fort. I received everything I wanted. I was the happiest kid on earth.

Next was breakfast. My mom went to the kitchen to start cooking and my dad soon followed.

That’s when the greatest Christmas memory happened…

“RJ, what’s this in the kitchen?” my dad asked.

I made my way to the kitchen to find a giant box standing on its side next to the kitchen table. It was a basketball hoop; the type of hoop that had to be filled with water or rocks to prevent it from blowing over.


I’m pretty sure I asked my dad if he could put it together right then. It was one of the best gifts I ever received and it painted this wonderful memory of Christmas for me that I’ll never lose. A memory that will stay with me forever.

So this Christmas, remember the times when you were amazed as a kid. The moments when it felt Santa was real because there was no way your parents could have afforded all of those gifts. There was simply no possible way Santa could deliver you your very own basketball hoop.

Spoil people you love the most. Drink a lot of eggnogs. Eat a couple of gingerbread cookies. And pay attention to the reaction of someone you love when they open a gift they’ve always wanted because those are the memories to hold onto that will remind you of why we love Christmas so much.

Oh, yeah, and Jesus is just alright with me.

Warmest Regards – RJ