On Friday, the kids celebrated their last day of school. On Monday, they were back at work, but instead of taking tests and writing assignments, they were doing a different type of job: helping the Salvation Army. But the response they got from the Wal-Mart crowd helped show them the true spirit of Christmas.
This is my first Christmas without my mother. Mom died suddenly in mid-September, three months before her 75th birthday. For mom, the holidays were less about Santa than stress. The yuletide anxieties began around Labor Day, when she'd fret about finding the perfect gift, and finding the time to find the perfect gift, and whether she'd bought enough perfect gifts.
For many children, this time of year is about getting gifts far more than giving them. This is completely understandable, as these holidays are for many parents an opportunity to show children that we love them and we want them to be happy. But it's also important to teach our kids that giving presents can be as gratifying as getting them.