My good friend Leah likes to ask questions on Facebook to start discussions. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Today’s questions got me really thinking.

“What’s something YOU asked Santa for when you were younger that you never got – or did get and wish you still had?”

I wanted to answer her but didn’t have time right at that moment. The rest of the morning, I composed a long response, so here it is:

I don’t remember “asking” for something and not getting it, but then I don’t remember much about the “asking” part. When I do know is that I always wanted an Easy Bake Oven and never got one.

Maybe that’s why I don’t really enjoy cooking that much.

The other half of the question gave me more to think about.

Two presents from my childhood stick in my mind. The first one was when I was about seven years old. My mom and dad gave me a suitcase full of Barbie clothes.

My Barbie always looked like my sister’s Barbie’s mom.

I was in heaven. I always wanted the Barbie Dreamhouse or the car or all the other fancier accessories, but Dad was in the Army and we didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t know that then, but years later when I was reminising with my mom, I told her how that gift stayed with me and how much I loved it. She looked at me in confusion and said, “We were poor and I made all those clothes because that’s all we could afford.”

I learned then that it’s not the cost of the gift but the feeling behind it that counts.

A few years later, when I was probably eleven or twelve, my mom told me that I wouldn’t have as many gifts under the tree as my brother and sister because I was getting one gift with four parts. I remember clearly looking around after the gifts were open and thinking that I was totally satisfied and never felt cheated in any way. I asked her what gift it was that had four parts and she pointed out the boxed set of Disney story books.

Maybe these books started my love of reading and of magical fantasy.

I LOVED those books. Some of the stories that have stayed with me all my life were in those books. I will admit that one of them was a book of non-fiction nature stories, and I didn’t read that one much, but the others were wonderful. Brer Rabbit, Babes in Toyland, Bongo, Cinderella. I loved them all but my favorite was Grampa Bunny Bunny, about a rabbit that decorated Easter Eggs, then moved to autumn leaves and frosted fields and taught his grandchildren to paint the flowers. I have looked everywhere online to find just that story, but to no avail.

Then a few years ago, I found on ebay that set of books and bought them for my kids. Unfortunately, I think my son destroyed the box, but I think we have the books in his room. I read him Grampa Bunny Bunny, and it wasn’t quite a magical to him as it was to me.

That, my dear Leah, was the one gift that I wish I’d kept but through the magic of the Internet, I got to have again.