This happened last year, not this year. Debbie and I had gone to Target to round up some stocking stuffers for the kids a few days before Christmas. I was just going through the math in my head on how much stuff was already in the cart, easily reaching a third digit, when Deb said, “Did you get a present for Sophie?”.
Sophie was at the time our still-new dog. This would be her first Christmas with us, and our first with a dog in many years.
“No,” I said. “It’s not Christmas to a dog. To her, it’s just Tuesday. With a lot of commotion.”
Debbie looked at me and her eyes narrowed down to slits and her jaw started to protrude in my direction in the most menacing way, as she said, “you better get that a dog a present, Mister.” And off I went. To abbreviate a bit, Sophie got a nice flying (via rubber band-type thing) chicken wearing aviator goggles and says “cock-a-doodle-do!” when agitated.
Sophie has a lot of toys, but she took to her chicken immediately. It became her favorite toy, playing with it often, and bringing it along for nap- and bedtime.
Not to get carried away, but my gift-giving had become a little mechanical that year, as I recall. Seeing how much Sophie loved her present made me really happy. It helped remind me that we don’t (or aren’t supposed to) give by rote, but for nobler reasons. Among these (but not alone) must surely be the joy of making someone else happy.
 Merry Christmas @fritinancy from @languageBitch