So today I go into work as usual when my buddy called me over to his van. He hands me an unwrapped Japanese Toy Police Car that has light up lights and siren, and says Merry Christmas. I am touched by the gesture but at that time had nothing to gift back...So as I walk to my car, I think to myself, what can I buy in return for him for Christmas...I don't have a lot of money to spare for Xmas this year, but I still feel obligated to give him a gift in return, even if it is something small.
It seems like another boring day on the pier standing watch when around early afternoon I receive a call. My buddy calls me and wants to know if my crew and I could cover his watch on Monday after our three day weekend so he could go do a volunteer project, I think nothing of it and agree that we can take care of him. My biggest thing with my unit is, we never say no to a shipmate who asks for help.
After working out the details, he asks me for another favor. This month we are pulling duty on the 25th, 26th, and 27th. With the holiday stand down, all sections are at minimal manning and have just enough people to cover each post. His father is going to be in town and he wants to spend the holiday's with him. He asks if we can again cover for him, for at least half a day each of the three days. He then tells me that can be my Christmas gift to him. We work out the details, and I agree it will be done. What he doesn't know though, is that I am going to go one step further...He will have all of Christmas day off to spend with his father, his wife, and his daughter.
It is interesting to read everyone's Facebook Posts, and posts on other sites about how much they spent on Christmas, what they bought, and who they bought for, how much shopping they did, how crazy it was trying to shop, finding the perfect gift, etc, and all the usual talk that comes along with Christmas. People tend to forget, that you can give a non material gift to someone through a gesture of goodwill and lending a helping hand, and to that person (ie my buddy) that is worth more than any material gift.
Lets not forget what the spirit of Christmas is really about.