My best Christmas
Two years later they still hadn't paid off the bills, although they were making a dent in them. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery and major treatments after the surgery. More bills, plus no more part-time job for a while. Daddy was working two jobs but money was tight. That was the year I got my first job, working Sundays in my grandfather's restaurant.
Before Christmas my parents sat down at the kitchen table with my sister and I and explained the financial realities of Christmas to us. There would be no Christmas presents that year, they told us. I knew things were bad financially, although I didn't realize they were that bad. My sister was only 9 and I think the whole thing was probably more of a shock to her.
When we returned from the traditional church service on Christmas Eve there was a clock radio playing in my room, a very unexpected Christmas present (my Dad's brother had brought it in while we were at church). I don't remember what my sister got, but she got something also. That's my most memorable Christmas present.