Friday, November 25, 2016
What is more fun than Christmas shopping? Ummm. Maybe not for some. Not for me. I have no desire to fight the crowds on Black Friday. I’ve never enjoyed any type of shopping—except for toys.
We have a tendency to over-indulge the kids with toys at Christmas, don’t we? To see the joy on our children’s faces on Christmas morning is one of the greatest experiences of parenthood, or grandparenthood.
What better way to relive the magic of Christmas? For one brief moment, we can become children again. We can get down on the floor and experience the fun, manipulate the mechanical toys, sniff the perfume of a vinyl doll.
The fantasy of Santa Claus, St. Nickolas, or Father Christmas has been around for several centuries, but the plethora of toys under the tree is a modern phenomenon. Before the Victorian era, gift-giving wasn’t popular for anyone, and certainly not for children. Except for the rich. Up until WWII, it was unusual for children to receive more than an apple, an orange, and a stick of candy in their stockings. Toys were home-made, a carved yo-yo, a hand-stitched doll. Again, except for the rich.
Maybe over exuberant gift-giving makes us feel rich, but I think there’s something more to it than that. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Christmas gives us the opportunity to indulge in those blessings more than at any other time of year.
Exchanging gifts among adults isn’t nearly as much fun as playing Santa for children. At the back of our minds, we’re always worried our gifts won’t be right for grown-ups, and there’s that desire to reciprocate in kind.
We don’t expect children to reciprocate for Santa toys, and therein lies the real joy of gift-giving. A gift extended from the heart—without expecting anything in return.
What was a favorite toy you received under the tree?