This is a great time of year to tell family stories. I purposely take the opportunity to retell my Grandma Isabel’s holiday story of gratitude each year to my children. The story goes like this… her depression era grandparents would give each grandchild woolen socks with candy and an orange. The gift was welcome to almost all of my grandmother’s brothers and sisters who usually received very little under the Christmas tree. But one Christmas her ungrateful sister Ada complained that they were itchy and she didn’t like them. Offended, her grandparents stopped the Christmas gift giving. My grandmother was heartbroken, but her heart always remembered the importance of being thankful. Her lesson of gratitude was repeated in story form for me each year! I have continued the same story and sharing the importance of the value of gratitude.
My kids look forward to Christmas for 11 months each year! The last thing I want to hear is them being an “Ada” and complaining about is how they didn’t get everything they wanted, but teaching and having a spirit of gratitude instead. Before Christmas, I try to set aside a time to do something for others. They have griped at times…I will be honest…but I know that serving others will help make them into a better people. It’s harder for them to think about their little problems when they see the Bob-Cratchit-sized issues of the less fortunate.