Every year I go to an amusement park and ride the most exhilarating rides in the park. It usually takes me about a month to get there and I always bring my family and friends with me. The lines are often long and I have to wait, sometimes for hours, for my turn to ride. Having said that, I love this amusement park ride and would gladly wait hours just to have the memories. I take baby steps in line, eventually getting to a curve where I can see the start of the ride. The anticipation builds as I see only a few people in front of me, and then it is my turn. Even at 43, I am still overjoyed and excited to get on this ride and see what comes of it. My family hops into their seats as well and we all take off, screaming, laughing, yelling, overjoyed. And then, the ride finishes after a blistering 30 seconds or so. And we are left with the memory of a 30 second ride that took us a month to get to.
As my children have aged, Christmas has become that amusement park ride. For about a month or so every year in December, I take that journey to buy the gifts that will inspire and excite and thrill my children, even if it is for 30 seconds. The lines in the stores are typically long and the traffic is heavy on Route 2 and around the malls, but the waiting is very much worth it. Some gifts take longer and more thought, thus I need to take baby steps in my purchasing approach. On Christmas Day, my family and I hop in that roller coaster sled together and get ready for the thrill ride which is opening gifts. I sit and watch them go through the “pawns” of the gifts, which I dub the necessity type gifts. Then, it is onto the big time, Space Mountain type gift that my son will be talking about for years to come. Just watching their joy and their expressions and their elation upon opening their gifts is the greatest thrill ride anyone could experience.
In recent years, I have encouraged my children to view Christmas as more of a “giving” holiday then a “getting” holiday. My hope is that they will experience the joy and happiness one gets when they give someone a gift that thrills them, excites their senses, and touches their heart. This to me is the ultimate ride during the holiday season, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s journey.