An Elephant, a Few Butterflies, and Some Christmas Magic

Years ago, when my oldest grandson, Mathew, was just a boy, his family lived at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. At that time, he was about five years old, and he was quite the little man. Every chance I got, I flew out to visit my family. That year I flew out for an early Christmas with my family, and it proved to be a very special holiday, one that I have cherished to this day.

One year as Christmas approached, I talked to my little guy to find out what he wanted for Christmas. All he talked about was a game called Elefun. It was an active game for two players. The set included an elephant and butterflies that flew out of the elephant’s nose. The players chased butterflies and tried to catch one in their nets.  The person that caught the golden butterfly won the game. That Christmas we celebrated early, so the family could also visit grandparents in Pennsylvania. We played nonstop, and my little guy enjoyed his new toy.

Just a day or two before Christmas, a duplex on base caught on fire. The family with small children lost everything, including all the Christmas toys. In the spirit of giving, families wanted to help this family, so the little ones would still have Christmas gifts under their tree.


My daughter, Leslie, asked Mathew if he wanted to give the kids a toy. With a smile, he ran to his room and grabbed Elefun. Surprised, Leslie asked, “Mathew, are you sure you want to give them your new present? You wanted this game, and Honey gave it to you.”

Smiling, he shook his head yes. He wanted the kids to have a “new” present, and he told his mama, “Honey likes kids too.”

And with that, my grandson carefully packed and wrapped this gift so that the kids would have a new present that year under the tree. My little guy reminded me of the true meaning of this special season. That was one unforgettable memory that warmed my heart on my trip home, and one that has tugged at my heart every Christmas since then.

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