Holiday giving creates lifetime memories
Most people know it’s fun to give as well as get presents any time, but especially during Christmas and the year-end holidays.
Along with the decorations, the shopping and the special activities are memories of the best gifts we gave to others.
That’s true for members of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, too.
“The best Christmas gift I ever gave was four years ago,” said Abigail Allen, owner of Pacific Crest Ranch in Alpine. “I surprised my family with a trip to San Francisco for New Years Eve.”
Allen said the Chargers played the Raiders that weekend in Oakland “and everything I had ever heard about Raider fans or had seen here were greatly underestimated.”
“It was a black and silver circus, a definite experience, but something I will never do again,” Allen said. “We spent the rest of the weekend at Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, which was still decorated for the holidays. It was a great trip.”
For Marilyn Fitch of Luv 2 Travel Online, a simple present to someone has had a surprisingly beneficial effect.
“I once gave my friend a very special pen,” Fitch said. “She really loved that pen. It was silver-colored, thin ---- light to hold.”
Fifteen years later, Fitch said, she was surprised to see her friend was still carrying the pen in her purse.
“She said ‘That’s all I ever have with me (for writing),” said Fitch. “That just blew me away.”
And sometimes the bittersweet memories of a gift generously offered and gratefully received last a lifetime.
“When I was 19 years old, I was super poor,” said Manager Estee Aragon of Meadow Woods at Alpine. “I had barely any money.”
Her best friend, Eli Walther, and her roommate were equally poor, Aragon said. All three young adults were living off Top Ramen soup and free ice cream from their jobs.
“My best friend had holes in his shoes,” Aragon said. “The week before Christmas my roommate and I scrimped and saved and we were able to put enough money together to buy Eli a pair of skate shoes. When we gave them to him, he was so happy he literally cried.”
Two days after Christmas, she said, Eli died during a fishing trip accident.
“I will always fondly remember that we gave him one of his best Christmases,” Aragon said. “I am so blessed that we got to do that.”
Tyler Smittle, general manager of the Ayres Lodge Alpine, gave his folks a great surprise gift one year while he was still in the military.
“I wasn’t planning to go home for the holiday and my mom was very sad and disappointed,” Smittle said. “I left just before midnight on Christmas Eve and headed north.”
He drove eight hours and arrived at his parents’ house just as they were getting up in the morning.
“They were very surprised and my mom was so happy she cried most all day,” Smittle said.