Holiday Dilemmas

Text Books and Life Skills

Well, the Holidays are here and the stress may begin, so let’s think about the dilemmas and let the festivities begin! Think about what it is that makes the holiday special:

  1. Is it reading traditional stories or writing some of your own? Story telling and sharing time with your children and grandchildren is truly a holiday tradition to embrace. Share with them your favorites, and see that smile upon their face!
  2. Perhaps you have no favorite, and are a modern family, then be sure to share with your children the story of the Elf on the Shelf?
  3. Is it wearing matching pajamas and enjoying a favorite Christmas movie and fun gatherings? Or, perhaps you’re a kinda fun and crazy crowd, try wearing these Holiday suits, you’ll find some are very loud!
  4. Is it playing a game with the family and friends?
  5. Is it sharing your favorite recipes and keeping tradition alive? Perhaps you like making cookies with the kids to decorate for some holiday fun?

No matter how you celebrate the season, remember, try to be the reason that their is joy in a person’s heart. There are many opportunities to show your generosity. Many schools have a giving tree where you can purchase items needed for a family or a child in need. You must know of the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and other organizations who are helpful through the season. My organization is donating our books to Children’s Lurie Hospital in Chicago for their patients. If you’d like, you can donate  here.


While each of us has a different stress level, or what we call dilemmas in the season, keep in mind the holiday reason. I absolutely love what this lady did for her children. She taught a lesson on empathy, kindness and the spirit of giving that will last a lifetime. I don’t know the ladies name, I found it from a page called and really enjoyed the story:

“In our family we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving Santa to becoming Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit. When they are 6 or 7 and you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being that means the child is ready.

I take them out for coffee and the following pronouncement is made:  You sure have grown a lot this year, not only are you taller, but, your heart has grown, too. Point out a few examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds, etc. that the child has done this past year.

In fact, your heart has grown so much this past year, I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus. You probably have noticed that most of Santa’s you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa, a lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to be a Santa yet, but, you are.

Tell me the best things about Santa. What does Santa get for all of his trouble?  Lead the child from ‘cookies’ to the good feeling of having done something for someone.  Well, now you are ready to do your first job as Santa.  Then, have the child choose someone they know.  The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that person needs, then provide it, wrap it, deliver it.

And never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit you see, it’s unselfish giving. My oldest chose the witch lady on the corner, she yelled at the kids all the time, wouldn’t let them get their ball if it went into the yard, was a real pill….however, my son noticed that when she went out every morning for her paper, she was in bare feet. So, he decided that she needed slippers. He began spying on her to see what size slippers he would wear, we went to the store, bought her slippers, wrapped them and tagged them “Merry Christmas, from Santa” and then my son slipped the present under her gate. He was anxious to see what would happen once she got her gift.

When I drove my son to school the next morning and drove past her house, we saw her getting her newspaper and wearing the slippers that he had gifted to her. He was ecstatic! I had to remind him that no one could ever know what he did, or he wouldn’t be a Santa.  One year, he polished his old bike and gifted it to a neighbor girl, put a big bow on it and put in on the front porch. The smile on her face was almost as big as the smile on my sons face.

When it came time for #2 son to join the ranks, my son came along with me for the induction speech. They are both excellent gifters, and never felt that they had to be lied to, because they were let in on the Secret of being Santa.”


What is the old cliché’, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin,



Joni Downey,
Creator & Owner