The holiday season is here and most schools have winter holidays starting from December 25th to January 1st. Ask any kid and he will say that Christmas is the best festival. Why? You ask your tiny tots and prompt comes the reply, “because of Santa Claus who brings us goodies.” Other than Santa Claus, what are the other charming aspects of Christmas that makes every kid, irrespective of caste, creed and culture, look forward to this one festival? Loads of goodies, gifts and the stories around Christmas—steeped in folklores, fairies, fictional characters—among other things, that have always been a lure for children of all ages.
However, as a mother of a six-year-old preschooler I realised that Christmas and children have another strong connection, and that is a direct link to God who fulfils all the wishes. I asked my son why he likes Christmas a lot, and his reply was, “Momma, Santa Claus teaches us so many things.”
Kiddo: “Yes, mommy!” (Speaking with the confidence of a person who knows it all).
Me: “Can you please tell me in detail?”
Kiddo: “Ok listen!” And so the lessons begin in his earnest childhood voice. “As our teacher says, there are so many things we can learn from Christmas and Santa Claus and they are as follows…” (Starts counting the points on his little fingers)
“1. We learn that we should always be generous and never shy away from giving joy to others,
2. We learn that we should always stay positive and happy no matter what the cirstances are? (“Circumstances you mean?”) Yes that’s what I meant. Just like Santa Claus stays, you know ho ho ho Merry Christmas types.
3. We also learn that we should be com-com, (“Compassionate?”). Yes yes, that’s the word ma’am used. We learn that we should always be compassionate towards animals and all other living beings.”
And then he ponders for a little while before he says “that’s all I remember” and rushes off to play with his little cousin. Leaving me alone to think about the spirit of Christmas! This festival that celebrates human relations and relations with other living beings, this festival that teaches us to stay united and be caring and sensitive as human beings, is one festival that breaks the barriers of caste, culture and creed and reminds us that just like Mr Claus doesn’t differentiate between any kid or adult, similarly we should also always love and respect other fellow human beings and always spread smile and cheer instead of gloom and tears.
Then my thoughts wandered to what the kiddo had told me about being generous and staying positive. Yes, Santa Claus is so generous with his gifts – gifts of time, his presence, his laughter and everything else. He has gifts for everyone – be it young or old. And he is always smiling and laughing no matter how cold it is outside, riding on his reindeer sleigh delivering gifts for everyone, never stopping even for a moment till the entire world is covered.
Yes, Christmas, its spirit, and Santa Claus teach us and our kids a lot, which in today’s world is being lost in cut-throat competition and one-upmanship. Interestingly I have also seen that my kiddo starts behaving well, that is, he becomes obedient, sits down for studying on his own and don’t waste his time in watching TV, closer to Christmas. After all, Santa Claus leaves gifts only for those children who are well-mannered and who obey their parents.
I wish I could always make him behave so well. Till then, enjoy the spirit of Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!
Swati Nitin Gupta is a journalist with extensive experience in writing for newspapers, tabloids, magazines and online media in India as well as Middle East. She has written on a range of topics, from human interest stories to event coverage to features on topics like fashion, beauty, women, children, travel and general health issues. As an Indian Army officer's daughter, Swati has been been exposed to the various cultures and lifestyles of different states of the country – knowledge of which she tries to incorporate in her writing. Swati also maintains her personal blogs at http://swatisays.wordpress.com