My two sons (aged 11 and seven) look forward to Christmas every year.
“Best holiday season ever” they would say. This is simply because they would be showered with presents and gifts from their grandparents, my siblings and cousins.
This year, however, I thought of making it “extra special” for them. I made them buy presents for their cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents. I also threw in a little “bonus” by making them buy gifts to give underprivileged children using their pocket money.
When I proposed the idea, I thought they would whine and protest. However, I was quite surprised to see how excited they became instead.
It started when we were in Kuala Lumpur for the holidays when we saw an angel tree where they would take a tag for a child’s name from an orphanage, buy them a gift and wrap it. The gift would then be sent to the child with a message written on it.
The boys wrote those messages themselves although simple such as ‘wishing them a blessed Christmas surrounded by people they love’, it was heartfelt because I had earlier told them not everyone was as lucky as them – surrounded by families who love them.
I also took them out one of the weekends when we were home to buy simple stationery sets for some 180 children.
Last Wednesday (Dec 18), they followed me to my weekly volunteer group to distribute food to a community in a suburb. From helping to prepare the food, to loading the food on the truck, I was quite pleased that they did it without much complaint.
Upon arriving at the food distribution location, they helped put up large umbrellas, carried large boxes and began giving out the stationeries and toys.
After a while, exhaustion began to kick in. While my elder son had to take constant “rest breaks”, the younger one also began to show uneasiness because of the heat. Despite that, they persevered and made sure all the children had gifts.
When the session ended, we hopped into the car and to my surprise they both said that they felt good.
“What do you mean you felt good? I thought you were hot and tired?” I asked. My elder son said: “Yeah, but did you see the smiles on their faces?”
Suffice to say, I think I accomplished what I set out to do. Although they were tired, they felt a sense of satisfaction and were able to embrace the true spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving.
They also experienced firsthand the preparations which go into the festive season. From putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, buying gifts (and thinking long and hard what each and everyone would like for Christmas) to wrapping them and placing them under the tree, the boys were very hands-on.
I hope this year’s Christmas will mean so much more to them to reflect on love and selflessness.
After all, Christmas is the spirit of giving (and not just getting). It is also the joy of seeing happiness in others. I hope they will grow up to be kind and will remember the true spirit of giving, as well as have empathy and compassion for those in need.
Merry Christmas everyone.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.