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Holidays (by Peter Children)


This news story was published on November 30, 2011.
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(Op-ed by Peter Children)

It’s that time again, how fast it seems to get here each year. To me this season is laden  with stress and lets not forget anxiety. There is an inordinate amount of pressure that begins to build as the holiday nears the end of December and culminates either on Christmas eve or Christmas day when the rubber meets the road and gifts are exchanged and packages for the children are eagerly unwrapped.

It is that time of year when credit cards are maxed out and people plunge deeply into debt that will take most of the coming year to pay off. None of this is really necessary, it is all manufactured by hype and extreme commercialism laced with Christmas music and tales told to young children, by their parents no less, about Santa, that mystical figure who will make your every dream come true.  Stop it. Try telling your children this year that Santa had to deliver most of his swagger in the form of clothing  to underprivileged children that need a warm coat and a pair of boots to keep their feet dry.  Teach your children that in terms of wealth we are not all equal, but under the skin we are all brothers and sisters and it is mandated in the bible that we are our brothers keeper. That is a much better story to instill in your child than some mystical figure who parks on your roof and comes down the chimney with everything you ever wanted.

If you are a large family and you exchange names each year, trying getting together this year and decide how much you will each allot for gifts and instead give the amount collectively to the Salvation Army or to your local Pastor or Priest or Rabbi to buy anonymously, warm clothing for some children in the parish or congregation that they feel are in need.  Maybe invite a group to attend a dinner at a local resturant to really fill up some empty stomachs .  There are several restaurants here locally where good food is sold reasonably, and I am not talking about a fast food outlet.

If you are buying new toys this Christmas, how about asking your children to donate last years toys to your church or the Salvation Army. It would be a good time to instill the spirit of sharing with those less fortunate.   This then would help shape the moral values your children will carry the rest of their lives, and when they are grown they will thank you for it.  Try to lessen the focus on materialism this year, keep your debt under control and remember those young children who could be both cold and hungry….then reach out to them…it’ll be your best holiday ever.

Peter Children

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