June 21, 2013
This post seems way out-of-season when you see the face of Santa while we’re in the middle of 90º days in late June. Because December 25th is about as far away from us as it can get, I thought I’d toss something out to you to think about. It was something that popped up in my own head just the other night when watching some movie where the story revolved around the holidays. If you have kids or grandkids ask them this question: “What did you get for presents this last Christmas?” Ask yourself, what did you get for presents this last Christmas?
Why am I posing such a weird question now, in June? Because I want to encourage you to think back to last Christmas and try to remember the stress, the spending, the consumer torture that you endured. The running to every other store, the late nights of wrapping, the spending and the true price that you paid to do…. what? To make last Christmas the most memorable Christmas ever? Now that we’re at mid-point in the year, it seems on one hand stupid to evaluate last year’s ritual, trying to answer those questions now. But on the other hand, I think the exercise can serve us as parents and grandparents well. As odd as it sounds, Christmas will be here before you know it. And, once school starts, it’s a blink of an eye and we’re wondering how did it get here so fast?
What’s my point? Right now is the time to start to think about doing something different that could be the start of meaningful Christmas’ and it will take a few months of dialogue to get kids on board with a new idea. There’s no way you could spring this idea on your kids in December or even the fall. This is a new idea that will take a few months to get your kids to really start to think about it. If you’re sick of the pressure of Christmas, change it starting now, in June. Start by making simple suggestions of doing something for someone else. And, that giving to someone else can be more meaningful than the gifts they’ll receive. And, to prove the point, ask them to recall what it was that they got for Christmas last year. If they struggle to remember, or if you struggle to remember – then Christmas has lost its significance. That’s the point. Encourage your kids to start to think about those who are less fortune, today. Think about a local mission, or a shelter that’s close to you and learn more about what they do and expose your kids to those where need far outstrips wanting the latest technology or toy. Finding ways for your child to identify with those who truly need help is perhaps the greatest lesson you can teach and the greatest gift you can give your child for their life.
Am I the poster parent for this idea? Nope, not by a long shot. I’m not going to pretend that we’re direct descendants of Santa Lucia. I like giving to my kids as much as the other guy. What I’m saying is in order to dial it back, and bring Christmas back to a sane level with meaning, you have the opportunity to start to implement a change now that could open up a future of blessing others instead of ourselves.
The idea has to start not right before the season; it starts now, with small, consistent conversations to turn the tide in a new direction.
Just what you wanted on a hot summer day.