By Michael Pearsall, P.Eng., CVS, FEC – President, SAVE International
End of Year Wishes and the Value of Presents
December has crept up on me faster than I expected. The year 2022 seems to have flown by fast and I have a lot to reflect upon.
One of the things I really enjoy about talking to people all around the globe is the exchange of customs and practices. We are very fortunate in the Value Methodology (VM) world that our work often brings us in contact with others who live far from us.
In my household, the month of December brings Christmas celebrations. This is generally a happy time of the year, with colourful light displays on the outside of our home and those of many neighbours, plus decorated trees inside. This also comes with a much-anticipated exchange of presents.
Purchasing and giving presents to my family and close friends gives me a lot of joy. However, this same activity often brings out household discussions on value. When my children were younger, I valued trying to find more for my money. Could I get the most Lego pieces for a certain price? More features on an electronic toy?
Sometimes I frustrate my family when I consider the function of a gift. Is the function of the requested clothing warmth or is it aesthetic? Is there value in a pair of denim jeans made to look worn when they don’t last as long? Maybe I enjoy researching gift purchases too much? Is it worth the fuel and travel time to save a little on the price?
The reality to me is that at this time of year, there is a bigger function and value of those gifts. To me it is the excuse to get together and show appreciation and love for each other. It may also be a time to donate gifts to those in need or other charitable activities. There are many functions with value.
One of the traditions around Christmas in our culture is to hang stockings (socks) by the fireplace to be filled by Santa Claus. This was great fun when we were children and I really enjoyed creating the same magic for my children. I have many great memories surrounding this activity, both on the receiving and the giving side. One such memory comes from the year my grandmother passed away. That year, to help cheer my grandfather up, we secretly prepared a Christmas stocking for him along with those for the children. I will never forget his reaction, as he had not had a stocking since he was a very young child – it was magical and still warms my heart all these years later. We then started a tradition that everyone who is present on Christmas morning at our house gets a stocking full of small presents. Of course, all adults have to participate equally. The rule is that you have to bring about three small items for each of the other Christmas stockings. Even a year with just six adult stockings results in a bounty with 15 items or more in each of them. You don’t need to spend much on each item, it can be as simple as a single candy bar.
The best part of course is unveiling what is in the stockings and discussing the contents. We often spend a couple hours at this activity while we snack on cinnamon buns and fruit for breakfast. It is great social time, with many smiles and laughs and we fully incorporate any friends who come to stay the night and participate. Our sons decided this was the best part of Christmas and said they would forgo other gifts or activities just to keep this one part if they had to no matter how old they get. To me, this shows what we value in Christmas.
However you celebrate this time of the year, I wish you all the best!