By Lou Schizas CIM, FCSI
In my family Christmas has always been a time of giving. It’s a time to share our bounty with our loved ones, friends, colleagues, clients, and worthwhile causes. All of us have a common coming of age moment when we decided that we wanted to participate in the joy of giving. I was reminded of that transition a year ago when my daughter, Madeline, made the leap.
The story begins in the year that Madeline was born. I came upon the notion of commemorating the occasion with a special ornament for our Christmas tree. My thinking was that each year when we dressed the tree we would celebrate not only the beginning of the festive season but also revel in the memories of our child’s first Christmas and what a special gift she is to our family.
A good friend, upon hearing of what I had in mind, suggested that I make it an annual tradition. You have to love it when someone takes a good idea and makes it even better! Every year thereafter I have made sure that there has been a gift wrapped special ornament from her me that Madeline can open and place on the tree.
As the years went by I further developed the tradition. Each year I would tell Madeline that the collection of ornaments I had given her would be the first ornaments for her tree when she grew up and left the family home to start new traditions with her own family. I told my daughter that she could always look upon the collection of special ornaments on her tree and that they would remind her of childhood.
Last year after six years of marking the occasion with a new special ornament it was time to dress the tree and begin celebrating the Christmas season. But that year wasn’t like every other year.2009 was the year that my daughter had bought a special ornament for me, which I could keep she told me, to remind me of her childhood spent in the family home. I can’t tell you how proud and happy that made me.
This year Madeline has been saving her money to buy gifts for her cousins and other members of the family. When I asked her why she wanted to buy presents for her family members she answered that she wanted to give like everyone else.
I have been very lucky as a parent to have had great friends and family members who generously shared their experiences raising their children. One family member, Pierre Laferriere, gave me these words to live by. Your children won’t do what you tell them, they will do what you do.
From my family to yours best wishes for the Christmas Season and may you enjoy a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2011.