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Bah-Hum–Moan? Holiday Spirit and (Pre)Teens

hAs we move through the events of the weekend, and approach Christmas, the concept of “holiday spirit” is occupying my mind. It sure has been hard to keep it alive in the events of last Friday. Yet, here we are, approaching that special day of the year. And here I am, with a nine year old effervescing with holiday spirit, while her almost thirteen year old brother appears to approach this season much more differently than . . . just a year ago? Preferring every-day, regular music over holiday music? What do you mean you don’t want to watch Rudolph this year? (I mean, I get it, I really do get it, but . . . ) . . .

It’s a stage, I know, just like all the others. When they’re little, it’s AMAZING to sit on Santa’s lap, belt out Christmas songs, watch the holiday shows. Not so much in middle school. Yet, there again, in high school, the cool factor of Santa’s lap and Christmas carols often comes around again. I get it (really I do). I can (almost) even accept it (really I can). It’s just that I want to throw a little holiday spirit his way. And I want it to stick. So, this weekend, I pondered. What to do on Saturday night — you know, to “get into the holiday spirit”? Do we go to that notable little street in Baltimore that is famous for its decked-out lights and holiday cheer? Go to a show? Rent a Christmas movie?

We went to Walmart.

We piled in the family van and went to Walmart, together, as a family, to shop for our adopt-a-family. Now, it’s not uncommon for us to give gifts to an unknown family, “adopted” through church, school, and other organizations. And when the kids were little (and the daily moments were much more hectic), I would shop for our adopt-a-families with my son this day, my daughter that other day. They were a part of it. But this year, it was different. We all did it together as a family (for a Saturday night “Christmas” activity). We checked the list, and checked it twice. We talked about their interests, their needs, and their wishes. Then we browsed, we shopped, and we ultimately chose specific and unique things according to each member of our adopt-a-family’s individual wishes.

We all went as a family. Together.

We talked about how our adopt-a-family lived in a homeless shelter, and how different their Christmas would be from ours. We talked about how maybe, just maybe, we would make their Christmas a little better, a little brighter, a little more joyous this year . . . because of our giving.

We “got the holiday spirit” that night. Even the thirteen year old.

Many wishes for you that the holiday spirit makes its way to you, your home, and family, even your (_ _)teen year olds. And, if you want some other ideas about inspiring the holiday spirit in your (pre)teens, let me quote from a recent kidshealth.org/teen article (which includes some other suggested activities): “Happiness is contagious and it multiplies. When one person is happy, it can lift the spirits of others. The more joy you give to others, the more joy you feel.” http://bit.ly/RBLFZN

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