Sunday, December 22, 2013

Take A Breath

I think that we spend too much of our Christmas season shopping. I know that we now get that programmed into us from the early days of October, and the retailers have actually deleted Thanksgiving from their memories in a desperate effort to make us shop until we drop. But we don’t have to agree to their terms.
Think back for a minute to the best Christmas presents you ever got. Were they highlighted by the “have to have” gifts that advertisers told us we needed to ask for. Or were they the ones that stick with you over the years because you actually loved them.

For me, one was actually a train set from when my Dad was a kid. He pulled it out and helped me set it up on Christmas morning. Others were a set of blocks that looked like big dominoes and a Frisbee that we played with in the snow all winter. They were things that actually involved my parents participation. Even my first two wheel bike was special because, yes, I really wanted it, but also because my Dad spent hours putting it together, and I knew how incompetent he was with all things mechanical.

Do you really think your kids favorite memories are going to be focused on whether you were able to get them a Singing Elmo or the latest version of the Cabbage Patch Kids craze?
Retailers will pillory me for saying this, but most of the electronic gifts out there just create more distance between you and your family. Real family memories aren’t created by everyone sitting around the house playing with their IPhones. Even video games are a little questionable. Are you going to look back and remember who got the most kills or was best at stealing cars? Okay, maybe. I still remember wiping my Dad out playing the NHL Hockey table game

I spent most of a morning the other day going through some home-made Christmas and birthday cards that my children made for me when they were young. I saved them all, and rereading them is like a new gift every time. Thes are far more precious than any little gifts they tried to buy.

I guess my point is that a great Christmas isn’t necessarily created by turning yourself into a mall-walking zombie. Sometimes the best present you can give your kids or yourself is to just spend a little more time with them.

Maybe an unstressed parent who spends his or her time at home doing things with the family will make for better memories than putting yourself into the emotional wasteland that comes from battling the retail demons in search of the “perfect” gift to show how much you care.

I know every family is different, but it might not hurt to take a breath this week, reintroduce yourself to your family and have a great Christmas.
And whatever you do, don't get your kid a Daisy BB Gun. He'll shoot his eyes out. (Okay, I admit it, I always wanted one of those, too. And I never got it.) 

Glenn K. Currie


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