Illustration by Zoe
“Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself around us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayers, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” –Augusta E. Rundel. Christmas is a joyous month where families gather together to love, share, give and receive, but most importantly, to make new memories every year. The nature of Christmas is not just about presents, big feasts or snow, but the memories children make with their family and friends as they celebrate each Christmas differently year after year.
Christmas becomes whole when it starts to snow, Christmas carols are playing in the background, and there are gifts under the tree by the bearded man in red called Santa Claus. Christmas has its own tale just like any other cultural festivals. Many children still believe that Santa Claus lives in the icy tundra at the top of the world and that his task is to judge the morality of children everywhere. He then carries out his task by sneaking into houses at night to put presents under Christmas trees. Sometimes, many children believe that Santa Claus is indeed real because of the half-eaten cookies and milk supposedly left by Santa.
However, the manner in how Christmas is celebrated may affect the way that children receive and appreciate small, heartfelt gifts given to them by their parents. Sometimes, preparing a proper Christmas can be very stressful for the parents. From childhood, some children may not appreciate “small” gifts compared to others due to developmental traits; the age at which gratitude is developed and understood may vary from child to child. It is a difficult process for both parents and children.
Ultimately, there is no good or bad gift if we make it out to be. The value of a gift is not determined by the quantity or size; a gift may be the warmth of the love that we share with family and friends. Oftentimes, gifts do not have to be something we want but rather, something we need. Depending on the situation, most parents may not be able to get the gifts that their children have always wanted, and at some point, may re-use presents from relatives. The reason behind these gifts could be that parents do this to instil values like gratitude in their kids, or, they could be doing this due to financial problems. Hence, when children find out the reasons behind the “small” gifts received, they will acknowledge and change their attitudes according to the situation. They will also understand the hardships that parents go through every Christmas. To emphasis, actions speak louder than words. Luvlynn Kaur A/P Harbans Singh from Bachelor of Psychology said, “As a child, I remember receiving a storybook with no pictures and at first, I did not enjoy it but as I think about it now, I realized that it was the storyline that I should have enjoyed rather than depending on visuals.”
Furthermore, Christmas is a celebration that teaches children to appreciate what they have now and what it means to spend time with their families. Sometimes, even the smallest gifts such as books, flowers, or sweets are just what people of all ages need for Christmas. As children grow up, they will reminisce the unforgettable moments when they received small, meaningful gifts rather than the expensive, often hollow presents as a child. This is because they know it holds an irreplaceable value and meaning to it. This is one of the many lessons in life that parents want their children to learn. Luvlynn Kaur said, “There was once when I received a set of earrings from my sister. They were small but it was the significance of it that made it valuable to me.”
Overall, Christmas is a good occasion to teach people the importance of appreciating a gift no matter how small or big. After all, it is the thought that counts. Due to unforeseen circumstances, many parents may not be able to afford the gift that their children want so they have no other choice but to get a different gift that can suffice. Thus, when kids understand that it is not always the gifts, but the hard work that parents go through to make each Christmas unforgettable for their family, they will know how to appreciate the little things in life.
Therefore, this Christmas, remember to appreciate the gifts that you received from your parents and others as well, no matter what it is. Even if they are unable to give anything, their love and warmth will definitely be more than enough. “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” -Mother Theresa.