Appreciating Christmas

Appreciating Christmas

by Doyle Ranstrom on Dec 20, 2022

A couple of weeks ago when visiting my granddaughters for a birthday, we were talking about Christmas which was a few weeks away.  I told them it was a family tradition on my side of the family that when the grandfather reached a certain age, the grandchildren give the granddad Christmas presents, not the other way around.  I doubt this is true because my dad, my granddads on both sides and probably for generations before that did not reach age 60, not too mention age 70. 

Anyway, they asked what Christmas presents I remembered. Interestingly, I said, the one I remember the most from their age was a bag of candy.  At the small LCA country church I attended with my mother and other siblings who still lived at home, after the Christmas Eve service, all the kids were given a small brown paper bag filled with peanuts in the shell, hard candy, a couple of chocolate candies with soft centers and shiny red apply on the top.  There were some years that was my only Christmas present.  I suspect there were other kids in the same boat, or more accurately, small poor farm.  

Today Christmas is like the blind men touching an elephant.  Each has a very different perspective on what they are touching.  

  • For some Christmas is delivery companies getting packages to friends and family by Christmas Day. If your one of these, make sure appreciate and thank all the workers that make this possible.  
  • For others, its a big  meal with family and friends.  Remember to also appreciate and thank all the different types of workers including farmers, ranchers, processors, truck drivers, and grocery store workers who make this possible often working long hours every day making it possible for you prepare a feast.
  • For those who are passionate about Christmas movies, Christmas is two people in 30s or 40's, one financially successful, but unhappy, who lives in a big city and is forced to visit Christmas Town, USA where he/she meets their true love who lives in Christmas Town and is baker, carpenter, runs a bookstore or artist.  After a series of ups and downs, in the last minute realize they are meant for each other, have a chaste kiss, and then live happily ever after.
  • Some appreciate and enjoy Christmas music ranging from "Silent Night" to "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer".
  • Many will attend churches where all are welcome and loved regardless race, color, income, and sexual orientation.  These churches and their members have found a true meaning of Christmas.  

Christmas can be a lot of different things, or a combination of different things, but as long as it includes kindness and empathy, it works.  

As you celebrate Christmas, please remember there are many children like my grandchildren who have parents that work very hard and provide for their children including Christmas presents.  But there are a lot more children out there like me as a little kid where Christmas at best is a brown bag full of candy and a shiny red apple.  Their parents work very hard also, but they are often in occupations that do not pay well.  Some of the people are in jobs outlined above that enable you to make your Christmas special but do not pay enough to provide the same for their children.   

As you celebrate your Christmas, please remember these kids and their parents.  One way of supporting them them is by donating to a local food bank and/or community center that help parents and their children.  You may think, well that's a good idea, which I had thought of it earlier.  I am pretty sure many of the children and their parents who need help now, will also need help in January.  So there is an opportunity to make the Christmas season last into 2023.  Not a bad idea.  

Enjoy Christmas with your family and friends.    

*This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.