Today it’s time for the Small-fry’s Christmas gift exchange! This story is essentially two parts, selecting the gift and then the exchange. It follows Swirl, so enjoy!
I stared at the slip of paper in my hand. “Cam Johnson,” was written on it in green ink.
“What on Earth should I get for Cam?”
You see, the name on the paper was the person I had to buy a gift for. This year, we decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange instead of getting a gift for every one of our friends.
I laughed at that idea. We’d met a lot of friends lately. I couldn’t imagine picking out twenty-some different gifts. My allowance definitely wouldn’t cover that.
I’d been incredibly excited about the idea of a Secret Santa exchange for a while. I could easily pick out some American candies for Gisselle or some new makeup for Candy. But…what would I get for Cam?
In all honestly, I didn’t know Cam that well. Even though I made it my mission to get to know everyone I met, I’d never talked to Cam all that much. Cam and Stella were only around when we had big get-togethers, like when we all drew names.
My little brother glanced up at the mention of his name.
“Do you know what Cam might like for Christmas? I know we aren’t supposed to share the name we got with each other but I just really don’t know what to get for him! I know he likes the military, but what do you get someone who wants to join the Army? I certainly don’t know. Do you?”
Oswald blinked. Though he’d had nearly a year to get used to my ramblings, it was clear that he still got a little overwhelmed at times.
“Um…maybe a swiss army knife?”
I shook my head. “I’m certain that a prospective Army recruit already has one of those.”
Oswald shrugged. “I don’t really know him any better than you do.”
I sighed. Surely a perfect gift for Cam existed, right? It was up to me to find out what it was.
I perused the aisles of supermarkets and agonized over the Amazon shopping cart. Nothing seemed good enough for Cam.
The calendar didn’t seem to realize I wasn’t ready for our Secret Santa exchange. The days ticked by and I wasn’t any closer to buying Cam’s gift. My stomach knotted when I saw the date was December 18th. That was the day of our exchange! I’d procrastinated long enough. I needed to figure something out, and I needed to do it fast.
“Do you three have your gifts ready?” Starburst asked.
Oswald barely looked up from the shell he was painting. “Yup.”
Petal also nods, holding a gift bag.
“Well, I don’t!” I threw my arms up in defeat. “I haven’t the slightest idea what to get for Cam! I’m going to ruin Christmas!”
Starburst laughed. “Swirl, sweetie! You’re being a bit dramatic. We can run by the store and pick something up on the way to the Stone’s house.”
I frowned. It wasn’t that simple! I had no idea what to get for Cam. A trip to the store wouldn’t magically fix that.
The four of us entered the store with one mission – to find a gift for Cam. Would we succeed? I hoped I could find something good enough for him.
I swallowed as I browsed the toy aisle. Cam seemed too mature to enjoy most of these. Ugh!
“What about this?” Starburst suggested, holding up a soccer ball.
I sighed. “I’m sure he already has a soccer ball. Plus he wants to join the army! Do they play soccer in the army?”
Starburst chuckled as she placed the soccer ball in her basket.
“Cam might want to join the Army someday, but he’s also just a child. I’m sure he’d love a new soccer ball,” she added.
“I sure would,” Oswald piped up.
I nodded. “I guess I wouldn’t mind a new soccer ball either. Yes, I think this will do nicely.”
As I entered my cousins’ house, I was greeted by instrumental Christmas music, the smell of hot cocoa, and a hug from Cali. The others were soon to follow.
“I’m so excited!” I cheered. This Secret Santa exchange was going to be awesome!
For some time, we visited together and tasted the wonderful hot cocoa and treats provided for us by Waffle.
When everyone had finally arrived, it was time to open our gifts.
“Alright,” Sandy began, taking charge. “Let’s start with Cali, and go in alphabetical order. Who drew Cali’s name?”
I gulped. That meant I’d have to go next. I hoped Cam liked my gift.
Rudy shyly handed a gift to Cali. “Hope you like it.”
Cali unwrapped it to find a set of dominoes.
“Oooh, this will be so fun! You will play this with me right Chip?”
Chip’s eyes widened. “Me?”
Since Chip was the oldest of 7, and Cali was the youngest, they didn’t normally play much together. Rudy smiled when he realized that his gift brought the two siblings together.
“Cam?” Sandy prompted.
I didn’t need the reminder. I carried my box over to Cam.
“I wasn’t sure what to get…”
Cam tilted the lid off of the box. His face lit up when he saw the soccer ball.
“This is awesome! How did you know mine deflated?”
I beamed. “I’m so glad you like it! I was so worried you wouldn’t. I looked at so many different things in order to find the perfect thing and I think I finally did!”
Cam laughed. Knowing that he liked the gift I picked out, I allowed myself to relax and watch the gifts being given.
Cloud got a purse for Candy,
Cherie got a book from Tye,
Cam got a game for Cherry, and from Sandy came a pair of binoculars from Chip.
Claire was up next, and since Waffle had drawn her name, he had baked her cookies.
For Cloud, Sparkles bought a package of Lincoln logs.
Claire held the next gift. She handed it to Gisselle. The older girl opened her gift to find a football.
“I’m going to teach you football! Real, American football!” Claire grinned. “And then you can keep the football for when you go back to France.”
I smiled. That was a thoughtful gift. Yet I felt a twinge of sadness when I remembered that Gisselle would go back to France next spring. She was such a sweet friend to have.
“Who picked Gracie?” Sandy asked.
Gisselle waved her hand in the air. “That would be me.”
Gracie unwrapped a lovely sketchbook.
“Thank you so much! My last one is nearly full!”
Then, Mischief received a whoopee cushion, Gracie gave Oswald a Disney pin,
Petal opened a harmonica from Cali,
and Chip gifted a frisbee to Rudy.
“I’m next!” Sandy gleefully called.
Candy handed her an unwrapped notebook. “Here.”
“Thank you!” Sandy grinned.
A book was given to Sparkles, and oddly enough, Stella also got a book. The two books were very different though, with Sparkles’ being a fantasy and Stella’s being an astronomy guide.
“Swirl is next,” Sandy announced.
My eyebrows raised. I was so focused on Cam’s gift that I hadn’t thought at all about my own. Wonder filled my mind as I thought of what my gift could possibly be.
Cherie handed me a wrapped gift. I couldn’t quite tell what it was, but it did have an interesting shape.
I tore through the wrapping paper to discover an easel.
“Thank you!” I shouted. “This will be awesome for my art! Now Starburst won’t yell at me so much for getting paint on the counters!”
The last three gifts sped by.
Theo opened a Rubik’s cube,
Tye the shell that Oswald had painted,
and finally, Waffle was given a new spatula by my sister.
Though the gift exchange was completed, none of us wanted to leave. We enjoyed each other’s company far too much.
But sadly, our parents didn’t agree with our wish to stay there forever. We had places to go and things to do. I groaned when Starburst reminded me that I had homework from History.
“Will you come back during Christmas break?” Cali asked.
“You bet!” I replied.
With the promise of returning, I went home with my family.
On the way home, I realized something. Though the purpose of our get-together was to give each other gifts, the best gift we’d gotten was the gift of each other.
Aw, that was sweet! I especially like the wordplay of the last line.
More Naughty and Nice tomorrow!