“What do you want for Christmas?” A burly man with a fake white beard and a bright red suit asked.
“I really want a Nintendo,” responded a child from atop the man’s lap.
“Have you been a good boy this year?” The pseudo-Santa asked as if reciting a script.
The child nodded enthusiastically.
“I’ll see what we can do for you,” the man said with a smile.
The countdown to Christmas was arduous. Days moved more slowly than the child knew was possible. He couldn’t wait to plug in his Nintendo that morning.
Christmas morning, 1990, came and went without the gift he had hoped for. He immediately felt guilty, as though he’d failed in the one task any four-year old was supposed to accomplish: be good.
Sure, there were other presents, and yes, the following year he did get the brand new Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Still, a four-year old doesn’t understand that there’s more to the Christmas equation than whether or not they were good that year. For a four-year old, not getting the present they wanted is enough to make them question their own idea of what it means to be “good.” In essence, it’s any child’s first brush with one of life’s most important facts: “good” and “bad” are subjective.
In reality, the reason the boy didn’t receive the present he asked for is actually based in a series of other factors, none of which being the legitimacy of the child’s great in terms of “goodness.” A four-year old probably doesn’t need a video game console to sit in front of four hours on end. Parents shouldn’t feel obligated to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a gift that will be credited to a man from the North Pole, anyway.
It’s important that we learn this lesson, preferably during childhood, and ideally with something as trivial as a Christmas gift. We need to be brought down to earth and taught the lesson that the world does not revolve around us as individuals, that we won’t always get what we want. It’s through this that we can appreciate the needs that are met, and be thankful for the wants we are able to obtain.
In this week leading up to Thanksgiving, I just wanted to share this story, provide a context for the basis of my ability to be appreviative towards life. Yes, this is a silly, materialistic story about a spoiled little kid, but it’s because of these events that the child didn’t grow up to be a spoiled adult.