The holidays are crazy. Let’s think about this for a minute. We have all seen holiday lights go on sale at Costco starting in August. We’re wearing shorts, tank tops and sweating while looking at Christmas lights? There’s something very odd about that. Once we make it to Halloween forget about Thanksgiving. It’s like Thanksgiving is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Christmas. Why would we want to stop and celebrate the gratitude we have for our families (some more than others!) what we are thankful for and just being alive and breathing air every day? My kids have no idea that in other countries let alone right here in America we have children starving and people begging on the streets.

I blame Santa Claus a little bit, okay maybe a lot!. Greed is powerful to so many. I’m guilty of greed, I believe we all are to some level. It’s hard not to look at bright and shiny objects and get excited and want those things that would fix everything we long for. Here’s where we need to HAULT! Bright and shiny objects are pretty but they don’t fix our inner desires. If you are longing for friendship, buying that new fabulous Tory Burch bag is not going to fix it. Trust me, I love Tory Burch but she has not helped me personally find new friends — or at least the true friends I like to surround myself with. That bag is a bright and shiny object, that’s pretty to look at and I’m not saying people shouldn’t have them (we love to look at pretty stuff) I would be a complete hypocrite to say I’m not guilty of loving the nice things too. Plus Tory’s shoes are amazing and seem to be one of the only shoes that fit my feet really well. A very wise band, The Beastie Boys sang, “check yourselves before you wreck yourselves!” .I do want to point out that I really don’t think Santa Claus would have wanted the greed that most of us have succumbed to.

My husband and I have four kids. They are sweet and very wild and crazy. They range in ages 10 to 4. We both cringe when they’re watching tv and we hear them say, “I want that for Christmas!” or “I want that for my birthday!” Until the next commercial comes on for another toy and we hear it over and over again.

Christmas morning as a kid was so much fun and I always remember being so excited to see what Santa was bringing for me. All we have to do is write a list, send it to the North Pole and voila, he gets himself into a big red suit, his reindeer park on our roofs (are they allowed to park on solar panels?) and then somehow he makes it down the chimney to drop off all of these beautiful shiny objects in wrapping paper that’s as crisp as a new fallen leaf, wrapped with perfect bows. Okay so it sounds a little too perfect. I do agree. It’s the magic that we long for. It’s a cycle, our parents did it for us, so we do for our kids and our kids will do for their kids and so on and so on. I don’t want to take away from the magic of Christmas but there’s got to be an age where the kids can start doing something to realize there’s so much more to life than those fun and expected presents. Perhaps we instill a program in 1st grade for all elementary schools where they are required to go with their teachers and their parents on a field trip to help serve in some way. I know many shelters have a 12 year old and up policy for a good reason but surely there’s got to be some way we can start showing our kids that they can start early in life helping, serving and giving back.

As a mom I have struggled by begging my kids to donate their toys. How many toys does one person need? One of my kids is a hoarder and it’s impossible to get that child to donate anything. It could be something even as simple like a scarf, a hat, socks, it’s hard for lots of kids. WHY? Why do I have to use Santa as the scape goat? I hear myself, “Santa won’t have any room to bring you presents if you don’t donate some of the toys you already have.”

This struggle will continue until January and then I will go on my merry way with my family until August when I’m back at Costco and see those darn holiday lights for sale as I’m wearing my tank top, shorts and flip flops, as my four kids are running around yelling, “Santa’s coming!”