by Hannah Woodard
As holiday time draws near, I find myself recalling the things I valued about my family’s holiday (Christmas, in our case) as a child, and what I value now. Unsurprisingly, I was terribly excited about the gifts I would receive. That felt like the most important part of the holiday. But it was also equally important to me that I found gifts for all of my family members that I was sure they would love and appreciate.
I remember the question that adults would be asked of me over and over; What did you get for Christmas? And I remember, as a teenager, realizing that perhaps that one innocent question had fueled the perception that what I received for the holiday dictated how much I enjoyed it.
I resolved then to always ask of the children in my life what they gave for the holidays rather than what they got. I think we influence our young in ways that we don’t even realize, and that’s it’s important to be deliberate even (or perhaps especially) in small, daily interactions.
Nowadays (again unsurprisingly) what I appreciate most is spending time with family and friends and eating good food. Listening to festive songs. Enjoying the general holiday atmosphere.
Thus, I ask everyone to keep in mind this holiday season the question, What did you give? And not only to direct it towards children, but to people of all ages. I believe that taking the opportunity to change perspectives in small, everyday interactions has the potential to make a world of difference.