Every year, I receive a weird gift. Somehow, this weird gift always predicts the next year in some way. A few years ago I unwrapped a cookbook. I lived at home and my mom always cooked. Except for that year, mom got a job and I had to cook more. No one knew this would happen.
In 2019, I received a toilet paper roll. Just one roll. I lived on my own as I went to college. Confused, I took this weird present’s advice, or what I thought it meant and stocked up on toilet paper.
No one knows where these gifts come from. My mom and dad repeatedly deny giving these gifts. They just appear under the tree every December 25th with my name on them. They always predict the next year in some weird obscure way. I’ve received these gifts since I turned twelve.
I’ve tried setting alarms, cameras, and staying up to find out who leaves these gifts. I never figured it out. After a few awhile, I gave up. Generally, each gift is simple. While obscure, they don’t seem malicious.
The Gift of 2021
This year changed my opinion. I joined my family for Christmas, spending the night at my parents’ house. In the morning, we opened presents. As usual, one gift wrapped in different wrapping paper waited under the tree. We always opened that one last. I’ve kind of gotten used to having a clue about the next year. It’s been fun to try and figure out what the clue means.
In the end, I pulled out the small flat box in the shiny red paper with my name neatly printed on top. Ripping the paper off I saw a plain white box. Opening the box, I saw the clue. I don’t think I will like the next year. Nestled in the tissue paper laid a photo of a cemetery, the one down the street behind the small church building.