Does Christmas Come In A Box?

It's All About Me!

The Christmas season stirs up all kinds of hopes, dreams, and magic. Kids love the idea of getting gifts and eating the sweet treats that abound.

When Santa arrives at local shopping centers, the excitement peaks and anticipation begins. Long lines of parents wind past Santa's cottage, the decorated tree, beyond the entrance point and wind through the center of mall walkways.

Post offices are flooded with letters to Santa. Most, but not all, of these letters are carefully composed and include lengthy 'want it now' Christmas wishes.

Retailers and media promotes new toys and enticing ideas that all too often are priced beyond many budgets. But, this does not diminish the children's dreams and demands. They want the colorful, twinkling, talking, animated, and newest toys on the market. They get caught up in the commercialized hype and believe the amount of presents equals the quality of their Christmas.

This, in turn, places many parents in positions that become unrealistic or unaffordable situations. Every parent wants to give their children everything they want, but not every wish can be granted. Sometimes parents also get caught up in the hype of a commercialized Christmas, and secure loans, max out credit cards, and cut back on household essentials just to buy that expensive toy for their kids.

Perhaps investing time and energy teaching and introducing children to more aspects of Christmas could be beneficial. Besides the thrill of the hunt and constant wallet opening ceremonies, many other activities can be found. Spending hours shopping for gifts that will mostly wind up on the floor of a closet, gifts not of the material nature can provide long lasting memories and traditions.

Many worthwhile community projects can build character while lending a helping hand to those in need. Children can become active in caroling, community decoration, children's hospitals, and mentor other children that are having a difficult time. By nature, most children like to give and help. Getting involved with spiritual and community projects can build future holiday traditions, and allows them to find their own strengths and interests.

The true meaning of Christmas is about giving, not receiving. Parents need to instill enriching holiday experiences versus placing emphasis on money and gift getting. Placing emphasis that indicates getting everything they want will only raise selfish ideals and promote the 'it's all about Me' syndrome.

This is not to suggest that children should not be excited by the twinkling lights, brightly wrapped presents, and thoughts of stockings full of treats. On the contrary, introducing them to noncommercial treasures can enhance any Christmas traditions, but don't let the Christmas spirit be only and all about presents.

Everyone loves to give and receive, but the true meaning of Christmas must come from within. Giving of oneself can be the best gift to receive. Teach your children that giving does not, necessarily, come from the wallet or purse. True giving and lasting memories come from the heart.

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