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The Christmas Pencil: A Gift from Michael

As the holiday season approaches each year, I think back to a Christmas memory that has stayed with me for 25 years! 

It's so simple:  a story of a gift wrapped in black and white newspaper and held together with masking tape—a Christmas pencil. 

Twenty-five years ago, during my early days as a teacher, a thoughtful student named Michael gave me a gift that would hold a special place in my heart. One day, Michael approached me with a small, unassuming package wrapped in newspaper, carefully sealed with masking tape. Little did I know that within that unpretentious wrapping was a very special gift.

The pencil was well-loved and worn.  No sharpened pencil tip or useful eraser, but it was brightly colored with a “eraser-type” wreath on the top.  It was nothing fancy, glitzy or expensive, but it remains one of my favorite Christmas gifts from a student EVER.   

 It was Michael’s favorite pencil.  And he chose to give it to me for Christmas. 

Over the years, many gifts have come and gone, but Michael’s Christmas pencil has retained its place of honor on my desk. Its presence in my pencil mug serves as a loving reminder of the genuine connections that can be forged with kids, the impact we have on them, and the love they have for us.

Over the years, my career has shifted dramatically:  from the classroom, to a district Special Education coach and trainer, and now as a coach for parents of kids with autism and other neuro-diversities.  But I loved the connections that I made with “my kids”.  And boy, if you were one of “my kids”, you knew it!

Michael’s Christmas pencil is one of my many reminders that it’s not the cost or the glitz of the gift; it’s the meaning behind it.  I can only believe that Michael gave me his favorite pencil because I was one of his “favorites”.  

During this holiday season, his Christmas pencil reminds me once again that the most meaningful gifts often come in unassuming packages, and the true magic of Christmas lies not in the extravagance of the present, but in the sincerity of the sentiment behind it.

To all of you ~  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you.  May you always be blessed with simple gifts.

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