Is not this the season of giving? The season of spreading joy and love to all mankind? The season of extending kindness to strangers? If we have to choose only one time of year to give all the love in our hearts to everyone around us (and we don’t have to choose, but that is another story for another time), isn’t this the time?
If it is, then why is it that the most common holiday related phrase I have been hearing lately is “What do you want for Christmas?” I hear it all the time. Adults speaking it to children. Friends and co-workers speaking it to each other. Most of the time I hear it spoken, it’s not because they want to know for their own shopping purposes, no no. It’s because it’s a curiosity ice breaker. We believe that we will learn more about someone. But what we may not realize, is that a simple question such as that perpetuates the spirit of consumption, of coveting. Particularly when spoken to children. It supports greed actually. This takes us right back down the long hall of excess and misery.
If we wish to truly spread the real spirit of the season, then the question we should be asking our co-workers, friends, family, and definitely children is “What would you like to give for Christmas?” (notice the question is very general. with no specific target assigned to “give” to. This is intentional)
This question forces the person to consider giving. And the general nature of the question forces the person to give a piece of themselves; not a retail commodity to a friend that asked for it. It suggests that they should be giving from the heart, not just the wallet. Also, we actually learn more about the person, in learning what they have to offer, not simply what they desire.
This is what we should be teaching our kids: kindness, contribution, community, love for humanity.