Today was a great day. After a chaotic week (or month, I should say)… I was able to leave work with a sense of peace and accomplishment. I left knowing that my colleagues and I did our best to provide a better holiday season to the most needy families and children of the Boston area. We go home today, getting ready to celebrate the holidays with our own families, but with a feeling of peace, in knowing that more children will have a smile on their faces on Christmas day.
Now, by saying this, I am not saying that what makes Christmas merry are presents. I actually feel quite the opposite. But, when you have lived a small life where you have already experienced uncertain and at times unsafe environments, where you wake up in a shelter or on a family member’s couch, where you have seen and lived way to much violence for your short time on this earth or have gone days without eating… Yes, you should have a moment in the year where you are just like any other child, and open a present with the happiness and excitement to see what’s under that gift wrap! Do I think that this is the essence of the holidays? No! I find it alarming that people go into debt in order to have 10 presents under their trees or think that unless they can give their children the most expensive gift on their list, they are bad parents. Good parents are not those who are able to provide their children with all the material goods. Good parents are those who give children the most important gifts, the one’s that are free. If your child feels loved, cherished, secure and happy… they won’t care about what toy they got… they will care about how and when they played and had fun with their parent! The best things in life are free! Give love, give kisses, give hugs, give quality time and encouragement… those presents last for a lifetime.
How many times to you see a toddler having more fun with the box the present came in than with the actual toy? What about babies 1st Holidays? They don’t even know what presents they are getting. Did they have a worst Christmas or Hanukkah because of it? No! They just know they felt loved, fed, warm and satisfied. Independent of your religious beliefs, the holidays should be more about feelings and less about consumerism. The holidays are a time for family, for reflection, for a sense of peace. Are any of those things achieved by the presents you gave or received? I don’t think so! Sure, the smile on a child’s face when they open a present that they love is great! Sure, a present will make your child smile and happy… but so will a night of fun and games with the person they admire the most in the whole wide world!
So, this holiday season, share a little love, give a lot of smiles and spend quality time with your children making memories that will not only teach them what the important things in life are, but that will also make them more loving and caring individuals!