Growing up, it was our family tradition to awake early on Christmas morning and form a line, youngest to oldest, just outside the living room. When our parents gave the word, we could all enter to see the room absolutely covered in presents from Santa, neatly layed out in piles for each one of us. We never had a tough time knowing which pile belonged to us. After the chaotic whirlwind of excited gasps as we discovered each gift, we would all sit down by the tree to take turns unwrapping our gifts to each other.
This particular year felt a little different from what I was used to. I had started strumming chords and writing little love songs on my dad's acoustic guitar that summer. I was 13 by a few months, and I had asked Santa for an electric guitar. I knew nothing of guitars. I was oblivious to features and prices and tones. I just wanted to be a rockstar.
As I walked in to the living room that Christmas morning and scanned the room, I took a quick inventory of my sister's pile - a new bed spread, a bedside lamp, a CD player, some CDs, a variety of new clothes... I couldn't wait to see how many new presents I would get. Then I saw it. It was undeniably my pile of stuff - A new shirt, a skirt... and an old beat-up electric guitar.
For the tiniest moment my heart wanted to sink. My present-count was markedly smaller than that of my siblings'. The guitar was... strange looking. It was not the shiney new picture in my head of what a rockstar guitar looked like. As I cautiously approached my spread of gifts, so many thoughts went through my newly teenage mind, which was just starting to grasp adult thoughts. My first response to my doubts "Dad bought me this. He's so excited that I've started playing the guitar like him. He put so much thought into this choice. Callie, DON'T SHOW DISAPPOINTMENT."
As I picked up this 70's Gibson SG Junior, with its finish all checked up and one of its tuners slightly bent, my dad said something like "Do you like it? Santa could have got a more shiny, new and pretty guitar for you, but he thought this one was pretty cool" (Note - I didn't believe in Santa. He knew that). Trying my best to be grateful and give my dad the satisfaction of giving a beloved gift, I said "No, I love it. I love this guitar."
And within minutes, it sincerely became the coolest guitar I had ever seen. I really did love it. Its quirks and imperfections were like my own. I loved that my dad chose it for me, and I trusted that he knew its value, because he was the greatest musician and most thoughtful and loving man I knew. That guitar was a beloved companion from that moment on.
I hope you all made some beautiful Christmas memories, and have a joyous new year!