Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Less is More

Nov. 20, 2004
By: L.A. Kohl
(published in the Wednesday, Dec. 15 '04, edition of the “Bull’s Eye”, Vol. 1, No. 8)
With the Christmas season upon us, I was reflecting back to the day when we only had a couple of wee little girls in our seems like eons ago. The oldest one was going to be two, and it was the first Christmas that she was really “getting into” the whole excitement of getting and opening presents.

We lived in a one hundred year old “fixer upper” home, and money was pretty scarce. The first present she happened to open was something very simple and practical, like a stocking hat or hairbrush - but she must of “oooed and ahhhed” over it for several minutes. She’d try it out, jump up and down in excitement, and come excitedly show it to us. It was one of those heart warming moments that parents love to experience – giving something to their child, and having them actually appreciate it! It was going so well, we wanted her to go on and open up another present.

Oh, there was more? Well, as soon as she realized that several of the gifts under the tree were for her – everything changed. Now it became a matter of ripping something open as quick as possible, and tossing it aside so she could open another one. We were so disappointed. What happened to our thankful, angelic little child who was ecstatic over one simple gift? She was suddenly gone, and a greedy toddler had taken her place.

Fast forward several’s Christmas morning again, and time to see what’s in the stockings. All of the older girls dump theirs out on the floor, appraise the situation, and now they’re ready to move on to the “real” presents. But wait. The current baby of the family, who is probably about one and a half, is sitting on mom’s lap, slowly reaching in her stocking to pull out one item. We all become entranced, watching her fascination and excitement over those very simple little stocking stuffers that she insists on only bringing out one at a time. And when she finally gets the last thing out – and the big sisters are beginning to get impatient – she decides that was so much fun, she’s going to put everything back in and start over again! She would have been perfectly happy that morning to have only received a few dollars worth of stocking stuffer presents.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s just a little word of advice to parents of young children. Do yourselves and your little ones a favor, and don’t overwhelm them with lots of “stuff” for Christmas. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to provide them with all the latest and greatest toys or clothes...they won’t know that until you and society teach it to them. Children are so easily fascinated with anything new and different, but also so easily turned selfish. Less extravagance may mean more joy and contentment in the long run.

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