Monday, December 23, 2013
I've always heard "It's better to give than receive" and while I very much agree with this statement I also wholeheartedly believe that the way you receive a gift is also very important.
I always read a story to my 2nd Graders called "The Christmas Sweater" By Glenn Beck. It is about a little boy that wants this big red bike for Christmas. It really is all he wants for Christmas. His room is decorated with red bikes and he has tried really hard to be good all year because he wants it so bad. So, he send his mischievous Grandpa to snoop. Grandpa comes back and tells him he has good news and bad news. He takes the bad news first and it was that he didn't find the bike. The little boy was bummed but now he is waiting for the good news. Grandpa tells him, "But, I did find a Christmas sweater."
You can imagine the little boy's reaction to the good news. This wasn't good news at all. Then Grandpa tells the little boy of all the magic that can happen with this Christmas sweater. The next few pages were all of him wearing the sweater...going sledding with his dad, making a Gingerbread house with his mom, going on a sleigh ride with grandpa. All of these things were memories. Great memories.
Christmas morning comes and he rushes downstairs to see his Big RED BIKE! But, he is not at all worried about the bike. He looks immediately for his Christmas sweater.
I always read this story to my class before our Christmas party. We always do a gift exchange. The students are to bring a wrapped gift between $3-$5. I always have students ranging from Spoiled Rotten to not having much at all...and many in between so I always get a little nervous with their reactions of receiving their gifts. I remind them that this is one gift and it doesn't matter what is in the wrapping paper at all. We don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.
This year I told a story about a Christmas when I was still living at home. I will never forget this for as long as I will live. My dad always has so much fun with his gifting! I remember Christmas' where I received Troll Dolls for about 10 years in a row. I always got bubble bath and bath salts...and don't forget the little bath oil balls. I always knew I would have special gifts under the tree from Dad. So, this particular Christmas I unwrapped a pack of socks. Let's just say my reaction was that of one of those Spoiled Rotten kids! I remember saying, "Socks? Really? Why?" and I tossed them to the side. My mom taught me a very important lesson that day. I don't even know if she remembers but I sure do! It is NEVER about the gift. But, always in the way you receive it.
If my students don't learn anything else this year (lets hope they do...lol) I at least would love for them to walk away with this life lesson. Nothing feels worse than finding that perfect gift for someone and the person receiving not really acting like the care. I love giving gifts and I always love seeing their faces when they unwrap it. SO, when you get the not-so-exciting reaction it is very disappointing.
As my students started playing their present game....I kept hearing things like "This is the one I want." I just had to say "Christmas Sweater" and they all understood.
I have to say that Halle has learned this lesson well. We have taught her that whether you like the gift or not you act like it is the best gift you've ever had. You say "thank you" and you give hugs. She does so good!