As a child, Christmas was the most exciting time of the year. There was a magical feeling about it and I remember several Christmas mornings trying to sneak down the old creaky stairs in my house only to be met with “Boys, go back to bed!” Those darn squeaky stairs! Only years later did my mom tell us that they don’t squeak if you stay to the side. Thanks, Mom.
My parents did a good job of hiding presents and making Christmas special. We received several gifts but were always reminded that “back in my day we only got one gift, and we were grateful for it!” ….blah, blah, blah. When you’re a kid, you just don’t want to hear it. Why do I need to feel guilty that you didn’t get much 100 years ago? All I know is that you just gave me a brand new Atari 2600 and a 13” television from Montgomery Ward and I’m stoked! Let’s go play Pac-Man, boys!
My wife and I have tried to do the same for our children – yes, we want it to be a special and exciting time for them, but we also don’t want it to be only about the presents. Every year we talk about the real meaning of Christmas with them and remind them about the significance of the day. If you observe Christmas, I hope you also take time to reflect on the true spirit of why we celebrate. And if you celebrate another holiday, I hope you talk about the real meaning of your special day, as well. In a day and age where meaning has become subjective, it’s important to talk about things that are true. Regardless, my wish is that we can all talk more about the “real meaning” of most things, and forgo the commercialization and desire to consume more, more, and more. Enough already! Don’t we all have enough stuff? I think so. One look at my basement and wow - time for a yard sale.
As you celebrate Christmas or other holidays, I hope that you will be able to do a couple of things: One, don’t make it about stuff. And two, spend your time with others. If you have a family, I hope you spend time together. If you have friends, please enjoy their company. If you know of someone that has no one, please make a new friend. Even 15 or 20 minutes could make someone’s day. And don’t forget that the holidays aren’t full of magic and wonder for everyone. Many of us are reminded of those who are no longer here, and the loss can be painful. I urge you, again, to spend time with each other. Show someone some love, and remember that the most important gift you can give is of yourself, to others!
I wish you all a blessed Christmas, and a safe and Happy New Year!
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you did, they’ll forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou