“Mom… MOM, COME HERE QUICK!” My daughter’s voice rang out urgently from the floor below me.
My disaster radar alarmed, I abandoned my throne in the bathroom and tore down the stairs to the imagined calamity below.
My daughter stood intact in front of the TV and pointed to some dancing gizmo on the screen.
“I want that for Christmas,” she said calmly. It took me a minute to register the fact that she was not at death’s door, but merely in dire need of a toy.
“You pulled me off the toilet to tell me about some toy?” I glowered. “I thought it was an emergency!”
I sighed. This had been the state of things in our house since Halloween. We transitioned seamlessly from “I want candy” to “I want toys” in barely the time it took for our Halloween pumpkin to rot. I couldn’t really blame them for being on high gift alert all month. Between the barrage of television commercials, radio spots, and catalogs that arrived in our mailbox with alarming regularity right after the stores took down the Halloween displays, to the toy ads popping up on the screen every time they opened the computer, it was a veritable onslaught of holiday marketing. But when it gets to the point where my precious few moments in the bathroom are unnecessarily interrupted, I know it is time to have my annual chat with the kids about the “true” meaning of the holidays.
“I know its tradition for kids to get stuff this time of year,” I began. “But do you guys know what the holidays are really about?’
They looked at me blankly. I figured they either had no clue what I was talking about or they were in a TV-induced coma.
“There are many holidays that are celebrated this time of year, but the one thing they all have in common, aside from the gift-giving, is that they are supposed to be a time when we show kindness to each other, reach out to those who are less fortunate than we are, and are thankful for the love we share.”
“We are really lucky to have each other, aren’t we mom,” said my daughter.
“Absolutely,” I smiled. “So you guys understand what I’m saying?”
“Yes, we need to remember that the holidays are not just about the stuff we get,” said my son.
“Right!” I exclaimed
“OK. Got it,” said my son. “Can I ask you one more question?”
“Can I still get an I-Pod for Christmas?”