Last week, as we took turns opening brightly wrapped packages, boxes, and gift bags, there was something very specific I was hoping to get. With each and every gift that was removed from under the tree I wondered to myself if that could be the one. Finally, tucked way back under the lowest branch was a lumpy blob of red wrapping paper that said "To Dad - From Brad" on the front. I tore the paper off as fast as I could and seconds later was holding the "best" present of the year - a three pack of Hanes, size 6, "tighty whities" with Michael Jordan's name and image imprinted all over them!!
See, a long, long time ago, when he was just a little boy, my son Brad, who is now 18, gave me the very same package of Michael Jordan underwear for Christmas. Unfortunately they were size 6 and since I haven't been able to squeeze into a kids size 6 since. . . well, since maybe never, I put them into a dresser drawer and pretty much forgot about them until they were rediscovered around Christmas time the following year. That Christmas Eve I took the Michael Jordan underwear, rewrapped them, wrote Brad's name on the package and placed it under the tree. The next morning Brad opened the package and laughed and never mentioned them again until the next Christmas when he wrapped them up and gave them back to me. And so for the last dozen years or so we have taken turns caring for the Michael Jordan underwear like it was the Holy Grail and then regifting it to each other every Christmas.
During that time we have lived in three houses and one apartment. Walkman's and CD players and Super Nintendos have all come and gone. Laptops have replaced desktops. Cordless phones aren't as amazing as they used to be. There have been a few Presidents, a couple wars, and a terrorist attack. Brad has gone from grade school to middle school to high school. Housing markets and stock markets have both skyrocketed and crashed. But through it all, the package of Michael Jordan underwear has endured and has become my favorite Christmas tradition. And I'm already expecting that two years from now it will be the "best" present I get!