I email my kids – their “future selves” – quite often. Since 2020 was such a clusterf*ck, I sent them a long email about Christmas. I also figured that other people – parents or not – may want to read my views on Christmas, so here they are.
Christmas email to my kids, circa 2020
Good job keeping it together in 2020. A lot happened, mostly bad to be honest. This was a very bad year in most respects. But it is what it is. Yin Yang. While our family had a great year financially ( we also worked a TON), plenty of other families and people lost their loved ones, jobs, homes, money, self worth, sanity, and who knows what else. You’re going to feel the changes of this economy for most of your adult lives. I sense this isn’t the last pandemic nor massive inflection point you’ll experience. As “everything” happens exponentially faster, you may experience several equally impacting events in your lifetimes. That’s how it goes, I guess.
That said, 2020 is both a year I’d rather forget, and also a year of changes. If anything, I’ll embrace the change, since that’s how the universe works – change. Constant change. Evolve or die, which is how it’s been since day one of life.
When I reflect on my own childhood during Christmas, I was most excited about toys. I really loved toys. You have no idea. Back in the early 1980’s, we didn’t have the internet. We only had our imaginations. And that included toys that didn’t exist. So, my list to Santa was huge – the giant Indiana Jones stone that almost crushed him in the beginning, the Indiana Jones melting people, and a bunch of other toys that didn’t exist. I got an Atari and lots of Star Wars toys. And a computer. And friends with computers (you now understand why I’m this way).
My grandparents – Great Depression and war hero folks – called me “spoiled as hell”. I was. They helped facilitate it too, as they wanted me to have what they could never have – a childhood. There’s a reason they’re called the best generation. Not because they bought me toys. Because they knew real suffering, and how to rise above it. In their case, giving a child lots of plastic toys from sci-fi movies. And teaching me about experiencing starvation as children, starting smoking at age 12, and killing Nazis at age 18. All of them, character building experiences. My childhood was less impressive and badass as theirs. And thankfully so. Their generation sacrificed a lot so we could play around. Your great grandma loves boredom. It makes a lot of sense.
As I grow older, I understand that I had a lot of toys, but strangely didn’t want to play with them. Not then, not now. I don’t know why. I’m a collector…You’ll still find some of my toys – the rare Star Wars toys in the bin that says, “Cozy Harbor” fish fillets. Sure, those toys are worth a lot. Actually a ton. But I don’t dare let you play with them. Because “they’re worth something”. That’s the trap of physical things. If you hold onto things, they’re either worth a lot or very little. Most of what I own is garbage. If you still have my stuff, junk it. Except my Herman Miller furniture and my other nice stuff. And therein lies the crux – find the nice stuff. Which stuff is the nice stuff? And this is good life advice to you – over the years, you’ll accumulate a lot of nice stuff too. Usually around Christmas. You may buy it for yourself. A psychic (or psycho) spouse may get it for you. Either way, you’ll gather stuff around this time of year.
What I’m saying in a very roundabout way – I really want you guys to understand how fortunate you are. Christmas is a time to reflect on what you’ve given and have received over the year(s). I think you both have more than enough support and capability to do anything you want to do in your lives. Pretty much anything that doesn’t defy the laws of physics. It’s really a matter if you have the mental power, integrity, character and fortitude to do what you’ve set your mind to do.
When you read this (your future selves), please think about how you can use what we built for you over the years. We didn’t invest in you for our own entertainment. We invested in you because we believe you both can be the best versions of yourselves. That’s the best Christmas gift we can give you. Toys come and go. Your character doesn’t. It’s up to you to fulfill the gifts you’ve been given. That’s what Christmas is all about.
Also, Santa is Mom and Dad. But we figured you already knew this 🙂
Mom and Dad