Sunday, December 04, 2011

What Holiday Legacy do we leave behind?

I just saw my umpteenth commercial for greedy holiday shopping. You know what I mean.

The one where someone asks "Can you read my list?" and the man says it is all crossed off and the woman makes what I guess is a victory noise. Or, the other where the woman sits smugly in the chair eating Santa's cookies and drinking Santa's milk. Really? Is shopping now portrayed as a competition? A competition with Santa? It's the only commercial I've seen with Santa, excluding the man who looks like him and sells cars. Is nothing sacred?

Just for the record, I love to give and receive gifts. Gifts given with the right spirit and intention are a blessing for us all. I am all for the dollars flowing through and building our economy. Unfortunately, every commercial I see features competition, crying and images that a phone and 4G are gifts. This disturbs me.

I know, I should turn off the TV. I normally watch PBS and multitask through show after show. However Sunday I wanted the background distraction of football, which is part of my family history, to catch updates of the Green Bay Packer score. But I digress.

Which brings me back to my original thought. What legacy are we leaving for our families for the holidays? Are we stressed with over-shopping and overindulgence? Will our children remember our exhausted faces or will they remember how family came first? Or will the competition to out do Santa Claus overtake us? Can we as a nation honestly answer this question?

This makes me revert back to the Stephen Covey principle...Begin with the end in mind. How do you want to look back at the holidays in January? Relief that you made it through? Or delight that you spent the best time with your family in years. I vote for the later.

Choose now to reduce the stress, maybe do a few less things than you intend. Sit. Talk. Reminisce.
Share your family stories of when you were a child. Share the stories your parents told you years ago. Ask questions such as what was the best book you read this year? What is the best Christmas song of all time? What was your favorite song of the year? You might be surprised by some of the answers and learn more about your family and friends just because you asked.

Share your family history and build the right traditions which will create a legacy of the true holiday spirit for your family. You can't stop your family from seeing these commercials but you can live the holidays in a simple, relaxed and celebratory fashion.

So, turn off the television and talk. At least when the Green Bay Packer game is over.