Sitting here in the HSN greenroom, I am reflecting on the trends of this past weekend. What’s hot in my world? Mind-blowing deals on tablets, portable chargers for mobile devices, discounted toys and gizmos in multiple-unit packs, premium brands at prices affordable to the average shopper, LED lights of all sizes and types, personal care products, etc… Tis’ the season. Some people love the Christmas shopping season. For others, the exorbitant commercialism causes heart palpitations and in rare cases, a bothersome rash. Just like the Christmas holiday itself, there are many different ways to look at it and feel about it. I was raised in a very Christian household. My father was a pastor for almost a decade. The birth of Christ was our focus. Sure, we still had images of Santa Clause hanging on our tree and donning our walls, but that was just for our imaginations. In the same way that we go see Star Wars or Avatar, then daydream about the movie afterward, images of Santa Clause reminded my siblings and I to daydream a bit about fantasy lands and magical evenings. An active imagination leads to a healthy mind. Regardless, we all knew the real reason for the season. Regardless of our mental vacations to the North Pole, we knew to look east with thanks for the birth of our savior. Shopping at Christmas time can also carry many different perspectives. No matter what doo-dad you are thinking of buying for someone, the focus should always be the genuine excitement and love that comes from giving, never the expectation of receiving. I have made great efforts to encourage this in my own household among my children. I give them more opportunities to earn money in November and December, always reminding them that Christmas is right around the corner. I can see the sparkle in their eyes on Christmas morning as they all say “open mine first” to each other. It is wonderful to watch as a father. For me, Christmas shopping is all about my family. It gives us a reason to stay focused unselfishly on each other and others for a long period of time. Any symbolism that can accomplish that is worth it, as far as I’m concerned. Fir Trees, gold bobbles, manger scenes – they all send one big message to me: “Christ gave us a huge gift that we didn’t deserve, so now we give each other gifts to be deliberate about showing our own caring.” Lets face it, people usually don’t do things until it is required of them. They might try, but in most cases, people lose motivation over time…even to the point of being complacent toward each other. Christmas requires us to focus on each other. It draws a line in the sand and says “No excuses, you have a deadline, be caring and generous now, not later.” The season holds us accountable and reminds us that our lives are always bigger than the little bubble we tend to live in. The people around us do as much for us as we do for ourselves…especially when it comes to loving us. It’s time to show them we notice and love them back…intentionally, with thought, and without delay. They deserve it year round, but as human beings, we can be lousy about letting others see our caring all the time. Christmas morning in my household is an overwhelming moment when every person sitting there in his/her PJs feels cherished by the people who matter most. Those moments are few in life. I am grateful, regardless of where and when Christmas came to be, that we have an annual event that deliberately gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in generous love for each other…not next month or after we get that new job…right now…December 25th…no more delaying! It makes me giddy and is my favorite holiday without equal for that reason!
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