A gal I knew in college grew up in NYC.  She had earned a scholarship and came to the University to study to become a teacher and eventually she became a college professor who trained early childhood teachers.  Life was not easy growing up as the child of immigrants who had run across tough times.  She once told me of a Christmas when she and her siblings had anticipated a wonderful Christmas like what their elementary school classmates had talked about and like what they had seen on TV Christmas specials.  Her Dad was in and out of the picture and they were being raised by a stepmother who was frequently ill.  I don’t remember exactly why but the very young children were alone on Christmas morning, awaiting gifts from Santa.  The lady who lived upstairs knew of the circumstances and brought down a few simple “gifts” she happen to have on hand. One was a set of a Ball and Jacks.  The children had not ever seen the game of Ball and Jacks.  She showed them how to play the game and they spent the day with the lady from upstairs playing Ball and Jacks and singing Christmas carols.  The neighbor had the kids up for dinner.  All those years later, as she told me the story, I remember her face lighting up and she recalled the gift the lady living upstairs gave her and her siblings that Christmas.  They needed no fancy clothes or expensive toys, the gift of the simple toy and time spent together laughing and singing, left an imprint for a lifetime on her, most likely, her siblings and myself.  

     Share with your children often, the struggles of life in your Family and others.  I once read that for one to have a good life, someone had to struggle for them.  It is good for children to learn that Christmas is not all Candy Canes and Sugar Plums.  It’s about the Greatest Gift in life of LOVE.  The first Christmas was God’s gift of his son. Gifts are part of the Holidays and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, the toys, the fancy clothes, the electronics, they are fun and useful, but temporary and will all perish, but, the gift of LOVE lives on and on in your heart and the ones you share it with…Making for many Great Day ❤️