“Dad, I like the Christmas tree!”
My three children really like Christmas and especially Christmas trees. It’s a joyful time for them, full of songs, festivities, Christmas cards, gifts and, of course, Christmas trees.
When the day comes to decorate our little artificial pine, Santi (4) takes care that everything is perfect. The colored lights, the garlands, the hanging ornaments, and the star at the top are all very important elements to him.
Diego (12) did the same when he was younger. Now that he is older, he has kept for several years a tradition in which his mobile device wallpaper is a picture of the last family Christmas tree.
And Sami (2), the youngest, is very attentive when we go on foot or by car, and she is very excited to see trees adorned in houses or malls. As soon as she sees one, she points at it and joyfully exclaims:
“Dad, there’s Christmas!”
Christmas and Videogames
Despite the obvious popularity of Christmas, it’s not that common to see videogames with Christmas as the main theme or focus. In fact, while writing these lines I could not remember any that I had played in my childhood or adolescence.
But in recent years, there are a lot of games in which developers add downloadable content, sometimes free and sometimes paid, with Christmas theme. Special scenarios, clothing or accessories for the characters, or new challenges; the creativity of game designers is challenged and they do their best to encourage players to download the new festive content.
Of course, videogames and consoles are also a very common gift in these weeks, whether it’s for a gamer friend, a relative that is a fan of some videogame series, or sometimes just something you buy for yourself.
The temptation to buy video games is huge, as all digital and retail stores are full of Holiday season sales, bundles, etc. Every year, in fact, I take advantage of this to acquire at least a couple of new games, since the discounts are considerable and it is almost the only time of the year in which I buy videogames.
Christmas and Gifts
Many years ago, when Diego was much younger, they asked him in the kindergarten what he was going to ask to Santa Claus. His response surprised us and made us feel the sweetness and innocence of that early childhood. Diego wanted a yogurt as a gift, no more, no less.
Children, when very young, are not part of the vortex of consumption that surrounds us today, and they enjoy very simple things. However, as they grow up, the little ones hear loud and clear the consumer message in all corners, throughout December and even in some places, since November.
Sales, Sales! Gifts, gifts! Buy, buy!
I also fall into the trap and make more purchases during this season, I make myself some techy gift, and I worry about what gift to give to my children. However, in my role as dad, I also wonder and try to think of how to teach my children that Christmas is not just just about gifts.
Despite not professing the Catholic religion, I feel that Christmas is a celebration that invites reflection, that allows us to value what we have around us, our family, our friends, even our goods. It is a time that also invites us to understand and respect the values and beliefs of others.
How to do it? How to convince a kid that gifts are not the most important thing if everything around him says otherwise?
A Meaningful Christmas
About five years ago, I was fortunate to be part of one of the most enriching Christmas activities in which I have participated, along with the parents and classmates of Diego, my eldest son.
Organized with World Vision Chile, the activity was about preparing a Christmas party for a group of kids from a poor school at the south of Santiago. For several weeks we prepared games and activities and, in particular, a play in which all parents and children participated.
It was a nice Christmas party. In addition to enjoying the play, the children played and laughed together, wrote and exchanged Christmas cards and there were also letters in which some told us about their dreams and goals.
Although it lasted only one afternoon, I know that for our children it was a meaningful experience, which allowed them to see another dimension of Christmas, a more human and focused on solidarity, companionship and friendship.
Many of us became part of the World Vision program and sponsored children from the most poor regions of Chile. But the most important thing is that it allowed us to remember that there are many people, hundreds of thousands of children and adults who do not have our own fortune and sometimes do not even have the resources or the opportunity to celebrate a holiday like Christmas.
That is why, in addition to wishing all of you Happy Holidays, I would like to invite you to reflect and take advantage of this Christmas to grow, together with our children, on our most humane side.
Merry Christmas to all of you!
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