Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Plea For The Season

(The following was a piece I wrote and it was read over the Toronto CBC radio station on the morning of Christmas Eve 2004. It applies more and more each year.)
The Christmas Retail Advertising Season is in full swing, and whether or not you have your own children, or any on your gift list, you have probably already "bought" into the idea that the more you buy and spend, the better parents or aunt you are.
As a primary school teacher, I can often see the direct effect of this whole notion on kids and their preoccupation with the acquisition of material possessions. Their Christmas "wish, want and need" list grows longer by the minute as Christmas approaches. I think we should shift the focus of this upcoming holiday season to downplay the "getting". It would be easy to highlight the "giving" and foster some wonderful close family feelings by making a few small changes in the way we celebrate.

You, as parents, have the opportunity and can ultimately choose to create your own "Christmas Greeting Card" through which you can show your children the merits and intrinsic rewards of giving. Perhaps then, the gifts they do receive will be much more appreciated and memorable. You can teach them that often, the simplest things bring the most precious joy. And they don’t have to cost a lot of money. It’s the shared family time that’s the most important element of all. There are several ways you can achieve this.

Savour this Simplicity of the Season!

You could all help at The Food Bank by sorting and packing food for the hampers and count your blessings as you do. Hopefully, they will realize how fortunate they truly are and the good feeling of helping others will stay with them for a very long time.
Watch the movie, "Pay it Forward" in which a young boy proposes this "giving" idea of passing a good deed on to a new person instead of "paying it back". It ends up spreading throughout the country, all stemming from a school project! Such an empowering thought that he could really make a difference by giving!

Go caroling one night before Christmas and watch the surprised looks on friends’ faces as they witness your family reviving this very old and special tradition. Spread the cheer.

Sing carols in your own backyard while the moonlight shines on the crispy white snow and let your voices ring outward and upward for all to hear.
Then, go your own backyard where you can sing purely for yourselves. Afterwards, make some hot chocolate to warm you up under the Christmas tree.

Listen to a richly textured recording of Handel’s, "The Messiah" and get chills up and down your spine. Visit a local church and hear a choir’s Christmas music resonating with the most amazing acoustics anywhere. Marvel at the beautiful stained glass.

See the movie, "The Polar Express", a simply delightful story of believing! Listen to the tape, narrated by William Hurt, and get lost in the magical illustrations, while exchanging wide-eyed looks!
Absolutely enchanting! Then, give each of your children as well as yourself, a silver bell to wear around your necks and clink these bells together to toast your belief in the goodness of the Giving Season!

Huddle together on the couch and watch, (for the hundredth time!), the old black and white version of, "The Christmas Carol" starring Alistair Simms! Re-confirm your belief in the goodness of generosity as you see Scrooge’s heart melt.

Find a place where you can enjoy an outdoor fire and huddle closely together to watch the dancing flames, each of you lost in your own private reflections. And yet, your spirits closely linked as never before.

Make your own family Christmas sweatshirts each year with some commonly, as well as some individually created elements! Maybe your own logo?! And wear this special tribute to your family with pride.

Take a walk in the Dufferin County Forest on a snowy day and wonder at the number and size of wild turkey tracks alongside the tiny tracks of small mice zigzagging on top of the snow. Treasure the sight of a deer holding your gaze with her big brown eyes, while snow is falls lightly all around. A beautiful scene from your very own Christmas card!

Search for an outdoor hot tub to use on a quiet clear night and fix your eyes upward until you all see the same falling star! Or drive down a country road and stargaze from the hood or roof of your van, cuddling each other under warm wool blankets. Share the hot chocolate right from out of the same thermos. A sweet family communion indeed!

Do some absolutely crazy, zany things that will cost nothing!
Drag a toboggan over to the park and scream all the way down the hill! Build a snowman or "snow-cat" and get someone to take your pictures standing beside it!
Construct a snow-fort and ambush each other with "snowmanition"! Try your luck at carving and laying the "bricks" to make an igloo!
On a whim, throw your skates into the car and head down to City Hall and admire all the lights!

Get your family photo taken with Santa!
Go into one of those camera booths that used to be at Woolworth’s and get five wacky poses taken!

For New Year’s Eve, let each one of you put on a favourite lively song and dance around the kitchen together. Then mimic each other’s dancing style in a loving, affectionate way!

Make a family pact that you all choose some of the holiday activities you liked best to carry on; creating a new sense of family tradition. The memories will last a lifetime.
On New Year’s Day, share a couple of highlights from The Best Of 2006 and have a positive look towards 2007. Each of you think of one important goal you want to accomplish and make a plan to help it happen. And promise to help and support each other in making this a reality.

So please don’t give in to the usual, "Buy, spend, followed by Huge Visa Bill = Merry Christmas". This year, add a new, yet old and wholesome flavour to your celebration and watch it warm your holiday hearts.
Mother of Invention, wishing all of you the merriest of the season!
Happy 2007!


Blogger Maggie said...

I love this. We have nice little traditions. But my favorite is that each year on Christmas Eve we open a new pair of pyjamas and a family game and then we play board games until the children get too sleepy! Family game time is a favorite here all year long.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this too. I'll have to think about what to do to establish family tradition. Though my kids are still young, it's never too early to start our own family tradition and linger the lifelong memories.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anonymous colleen said...

Great reminders! I agree. This year I'll be walking a solsice spiral and lighting a candle at the end.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogger meno said...

One comic i read is set in the future, where Christmas has been renamed Getmas, to more accurately relect the spirit of the season.
This is certainly the way we are headed.

I would have liked to have heard this on the radio.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogger steve said...

These are some very nice ideas, but I am not sure that my dancing can be mimiced in a 'loving affectionate way"!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogger Barbara said...

It seems so difficult for people in our affluent society to return to enjoyment that doesn't cost anything. What about baking holiday cookies? I used to love doing that. Thanks for reminding us about small joys.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I have linked this message in my blog as I think this meaningful message has to be viewed by more (hope you don't mind!)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Maggie:I love your pj and games tradition! Count me in for a game of Clue!

fennyman:You're right and you'll be creating memories and traditions for your kids to pass on to theirs.
Of course I don't mind! Thanks!

Colleen: I love your Solstice Spiral walk!

Meno: Thanks...I have it taped and it was weird hearing my words read over the radio by someone else! She was really good though!

Steve: Ah, Steve, you are lovable no matter how you dance and I bet your kids could do it!

Barbara: You got that right! How to get back to simplicity when we've had it all?! Definitely the cookie tradition! And then the tea in Grandma's nice china cups and eating tradition!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas and great traditions. The best part of this season is giving, watching faces spread with joy. Simple gifts are usually the best and most memorable.

I wish we had more snow and then I'd run around outside with my camera!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Blogger Richard said...

We have often invited a less fortunate person or family over for Christmas Eve (when we really celebrate). Not total strangers, but people we know.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Brooksba: I love gifting! And the simplest of things.

Richard: That is wonderful that you are so inclusive and more people should do that.

Friday, December 29, 2006


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