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Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Reason for the Season

When I was young, my mother always made a very big deal out of holidays.  She made sure our tree always went up on Thanksgiving.  On Christmas Eve we would open a present -- usually pajamas that we would wear that night.  We would leave our milk and cookies on the table and head to bed.  The morning would come and my brother and I would run into our parents room to wake them and head to the living room.  That’s where we would find the huge pile of goodies from Santa.

Santa always brought the biggest gifts: trampolines, gaming systems, keyboards, computers, televisions, etc.  After we felt we spent enough time with those gifts, we started opening the gifts from my parents.  Every year, my parents gave us between forty and fifty presents, which did not include what Santa brought.  These gifts included rings, necklaces, shoes, clothes and toys.

As I got older I expected -- no demanded -- an exorbitant amount of presents each year.  I would ask my mother throughout the year how many presents we would have for Christmas.  I would ask her to give me at least one more present than my brother.  I would secretly wish my brother wasn’t born so that I could have all the presents.   

My parents were not rich by any means.  My dad was a soldier and my mom was a retail worker.  I had no idea the value of a dollar.  Christmas aside, I always had something new -- a trinket here or a doll there.  Generally, if I wanted something, my parents made sure I got it.  As a result, I associated giving people things with love.

Now, as a mother myself, I am overcome by all the things I must teach my son to be an amazing person.  Some days, I am overwhelmed by the realization I am his compass in this world.  Where I go, he goes.  What I do, he does.  He is my mini me.  Nothing has ever been easy for my son.  He has multiple diagnoses, and I often wonder who he will be in this world, and if his disabilities will cripple him in ways I have not thought of. Because of the many obstacles my son faces and overcomes, I have to be very careful to show my love to him with my words and not with a steady stream of gifts.  

As the holiday season approaches, I fight with the urge to buy my son everything he could ever want.  I used to be so selfish, demanding my mom give me multiple expensive presents.  It was never her wish to make me selfish by giving me what I wanted.  She just wanted to show that she loves me.

But I need my son to know that there is more to the season than what we get.
A few years ago, my husband and I decided that we would not have the huge Christmas I experienced as a child.  I worried about how my son would adjust to this change.

And then, the other day, my son and I headed to the mall.  I felt anxiety creeping in. I knew my son would likely ask to go to the toy store, the candy store and to take a ride on the train.  I knew I would have to tell him “no” since it is so close to Christmas.  I braced myself for potential tears and pouts. 

But as we approached the doors, something unexpected happens. My son pulls something out of his pocket -- a nickel and dime he found on the floor of the car.  He smiles at the man ringing a bell and drops his change into the bucket labeled ‘Salvation Army’.  The man thanks my son and says something about how wonderful it is to teach them to give when they are young.  As I suspected, I have to decline my son’s invites to each of his usual places. But, this time there are no tears.  

When we leave, my son smiles and waves at the bell ringer.  I look at my son and ask why he put his money in the bucket knowing that there were other things he may have wanted in the mall.  He considers his answer for a moment, looks up at me and says, “I was made for helping other people and giving.  That’s what I’m here for.”  

In that moment, I realized what my child will be -- a giver.  He knows the true meaning of the season.  To think of others.  To put our needs last.  To give freely and with love. And the peace that comes with this knowledge is the best Christmas present I have ever received.  

Check back for more of our 12 Days of Christmas

Tiffany is a wife and mother of one.  She is crazy in love with her boys and is loving this journey of life.  


  1. This is beautiful. As parents we are our children's guide. We do our best, and usually that's just right! I'm so happy to see that we can raise our children to be giving & selfless vs spoiled.

  2. What a beautiful son you have! He will do good things in this world and we need more people like you and him! Merry Christmas!!

  3. What a beautiful son you have! He will do good things in this world and we need more people like you and him! Merry Christmas!!

  4. What a beautiful gift you are giving your child! Sometimes its hard to know the best way to raise our children but it sounds like you are doing a great job and your children will thank you for it when they are older.

  5. This is a great way to live :) love it!!!

  6. This is a great way to live :) love it!!!

  7. Beautiful story and amazing parentinh

  8. Wonderful, great job mama, teaching valuable lessons.. merry Christmas!