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Catholic Kids *
"It's All Good"
by Cheryl L. Butler
To Prepare for the Holidays, Think Like a Kid
By Cheryl Butler
Looking back, I can hardly believe how I used to prepare for the holidays. Instead of spending the lazy days of summer collecting seashells by the seashore and fretting over how I looked in a bathing suit, I was making a list and checking it twice, shopping and wrapping so in December I wouldn’t be paying the price! By Labor Day, my attic looked like a stockroom from Toys R Us and shamefully, I admit that my family was no longer being tortured to pose just so for the perfect Kodak moment Christmas card because I painstakingly scratched that off the list by 4th of July—all in the mere spirit of the fast approaching holidays!
Thank goodness I came to my senses a few year’s ago and learned to thrive on the adrenaline of sheer panic and self-induced stress like 99% of the frenzied gift-giving club most of us join when Tom Turkey is being cleared from the Thanksgiving table. But hey, I catch on fast and soon realized that now the free-for all (silly me, did I say free) pace I was pushing on myself to pull off the perfect holiday had left the true meaning of the season stuffed away in one of my 99 festive gift-wrap bags. To rectify the situation I think I may have actually penciled in spending time with friends and family at the bottom of one of my many to do lists crammed on the very last line next to dust behind the Christmas tree and impress neighbors with front lawn decorations. Pitiful!
Clearly, this wasn’t working for me either and it certainly wasn’t working for my family.
While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that the majority of people I encounter in my pre-holiday travels are stressing over what to buy, how much to spend, quality versus quantity, and bottom line—how much debt the holidays will set them back come the first billing statement from their credit card companies in early January. The time investment alone is a drag. It would seem that the joys of the season should be filled with sounds other than the noise of cash registers singing ca-ching ca-ching. That’s why I’m happy that I stumbled upon a wonderful essay written by Brian Kramer titled, Like a kid at Christmas, Survive the Holiday Season With Your Sanity and Checkbook Intact by Acting Like a Kid Again. His humorous yet heartfelt message about preparing for the holidays was short and sweet, and I liked it so much I cut it out and framed it. In a nutshell, here’s what he viewed as important.
He vividly recalls that at the young age of just six, he started to learn that the holidays were not just about receiving, but giving as well. His mother introduced him to the delights of wrapping a package, and that first year he wrapped everything from orange juice cartons to his own favorite toys simply for the sheer enjoyment of packaging a gift for someone that he loved to open. Now when he reminisces about how great it felt to innocently give a gift from the heart, he reminds himself to think like his 6-year-old self and rely on creativity and sincerity when the holidays roll into town. For example:
Like with so many other events in life, if you sit back and observe a child’s innocence and pure delight in the simplicity of how it unfolds you can hardly believe how serious and carried away we adults can get under many of the same circumstances. Children don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s, forget about playtime or over extend themselves just because society and all its consumer demands persuade us to do or buy just one more thing all in the name of perfection or how others might perceive us.
So as Brian Kramer suggests why not take a lesson from our inner child and approach the holidays like a kid again? If nothing else we’re sure to have a better time in the process, and I’d much prefer my kids associate their childhood holidays with me riding in a sleigh with a cozy wool scarf dragging behind me as opposed to flying around on a broomstick with a mile-long to-do list wrapped around my neck.
© 2007 Cheryl L. Butler
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