Another Chanukah has come and gone and here at Castle Wilner the estate grounds are slowly returning to normal.
Unlike years past the house has not been destroyed/overrun and or overwhelmed by 98 tons of toys for my children and for that I am grateful.
That is not to say I don’t like seeing my children spoiled by grandparents and family, but sometimes I don’t like seeing my kids spoiled by grandchildren and family.
Sometimes I like making sure their focus is upon gratitude for what we have and not upon what they didn’t get that their friends did.
That is not to say my children are ungrateful or unappreciative of what they have because they aren’t, but they are like the rest of us and occasionally forget that what they have came from a combination of hard work and luck.
Granted age helps because as they have gotten older and matured they gained a better and greater understanding of how things work.
Some of it is based upon things we have experienced as a family and some of it from things they experienced individually but the net result has been the an increased understanding that gifts don’t just fall from trees or spring from the ground.
They have also begun to recognize that there are things and stuff we have around the house that have limited or no meaning.
Some of those items stick around because even though they don’t mean much, they do have a purpose and or use that make them valuable enough to keep.
And then there are the items we have that are special and mean something to us as a family and or to the individuals they belong to around here.
Those are important and usually because they are tied into memories/experiences.
The Best Gift Ever Given Or Received Is…
I make a point of reminding the kids that the reason those things are important is because of the memories we have that are attached to them.
That is because I want them to remember what the secret to a life worth living is.
It is why I am a big fan of experiences.
Possessions can be lost or taken away but memories live forever.
I loved driving that Ferrari and it is something that I will always remember.
Would it be the same if I owned the car?
Probably not, it would move from something special to something more mundane but I’d like to think that I would still be grateful and appreciative.
I’d like to think I wouldn’t forget how hard I had to work to get it, but who knows.
The probability of my buying that car is low, so we probably won’t answer that question and I am good with that.
But what I remember most about that particular day wasn’t my driving but the smiles my children had when they got their chances to do their ridealongs.
The smiles on their faces when they got out of that Corvette were amazing.
We still talk about it and when we do those smiles come back and that is the kind of gift you just can’t buy in a store.
If you ask me to tell what the best gift I have ever given or received I’ll want to tell you a story about the warm feeling I got feeding the homeless or some other charitable work I have done.
And though there is truth to that, the real truth is that I look at these moments with the kids and I smile because they are truly priceless.
These are the moments I hope they take with them and pass along.
Experiences and the memories that come along with them are what I hope to give and receive each year.