Some of the best gifts don’t come wrapped with a bow

My daughters have been nagging me about making a Christmas list. This was after a two-week process of collecting and texting a copy of each of their small lists to each other.

I now know why my own father always asked for the same thing every year in my younger days: socks, Spanish peanuts and one Homemade brand cigar.

I remember as an elementary student the excitement of trying to decide between the crayon-colored guitar picks at the nearby music store — I think they were 5 or 10 cents — I’m not sure that my Dad even used guitar picks! They were about the same price as the occasional Homemade cigar, which were hand-wrapped in tobacco leaves and came with a small cigar wrapper that we used as rings.

This year Dad said the same thing: “I don’t really need anything — maybe good health for the family.”

I told my daughters the same thing: “I don’t really need anything.” I truly have everything I need. A roof over my head, food in the fridge and a family that loves me — even those brothers of mine that don’t like to admit it.

I read in the Daily Journal Jacob Tellers’ front page article on Wednesday with tears in my eyes about the Franklin elementary students who collected and assembled 600 blessing bags, which will be distributed to the homeless and needy families in the community. They are definitely learning the wisdom of ages that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.”

My favorite part of their blessing bags was that they included encouraging notes.

So to my daughters, here’s my new list:

1) I would like a Grinch-size heart that grows three sizes as I become more generous and giving.

2) I would like sharper, eagle-like, eyes which can discern when my fellow man needs help.

3) I would like nimble open hands that give freely and don’t hold on to unnecessary stuff.

4) I would like a mind, heart and soul like Jesus — to love and accept others.

No pressure, Aly, Chloe and Phoebe.

I’m looking forward to that under the Christmas tree!

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to