Dear Parents,

"I am Santa, the bringer of happiness and hope"..the Christmas season is around and all of you must be already racking your brains over what to present to your loved ones. And while you are busy at it, I am dry-cleaning my lush-red santa suit with its white fur. The toughest decision would be the choice of gifts for your little ones as their expectations and desires would have surely escalated by at least an inch over the past one year.

As far as I am concerned, I am busy packing some marvelous parcels which I would distribute among humankind and my trustworthy elves would help me in this endeavour as usual. The typical willingness and eagerness to assist me in this Herculean task has unfortunately dwindled this year and I could see a few grumpy faces. Moreover, my white, silvery beard has turned a tinge grey as I found the cause of their petulance; I was quite taken aback by my discovery. Let me explain the situation to you. They are very disgruntled over the fact that the tiny tots are no longer the cute little angels on earth, willing to give and help more frequently. Instead they have transformed into cute little rebels whose never-ending demands are pricey and yet they get hardly ever satisfied! The same children whom you would love to cuddle have become so whiny and demanding that you would rather wish to strangle them but cannot possibly do that because after all they are your own creations!!!

Obviously, this is a serious matter because I do not consider myself a saint (Wait a second – I am one!!!) to give presents to mischievous kids. I have made a well-contemplated decision and I expect you to help me implement my decision.

Let us start a Christmas Tradition of Giving! I could suggest a few ideas; you can be creative too and share your valuable ideas and even share them on social-networking sites. But do not make the mistake of stating politically incorrect statements like Shashi Tharoor!!!

First, whenever you have free-time, enlighten the children about the importance of giving. (This could be your only chance to highlight the fact that you sacrifice your morning sleep to prepare their breakfast.) For example, involving them in baking cookies or any other foodstuff of your choice and distribute them in orphanages, thus sharing Christmas pleasantries with those children who might not be as privileged as your children might be.

Second, you could present them a brochure of an old age home or a differently abled children’s home and discuss with them the ways in which one could contribute some happiness to their lives. I strongly believe that these little ones have better ideas than you. (Forgive me if your children start showing tantrums and you fail to zero in on a particular idea.) You could sensitize them about the problems they face like environmental degradation and encourage them to reduce energy consumption. “Switch off television, computer, lights and fans while you are not using them.” So, light up your children’s lives by reducing consumption of electricity. This will not only facilitate sustainable development but also help cutting down your electricity bill!

Ask them everyday, “What have you been able to GIVE today?” Even if it is a small act of sharing lunch, appreciate it. Such small acts can boost the morale of the children. There is nothing to lose in appreciating others’ efforts once in a while! You will only gain.

Third, you could help them in the creation of a small piggy bank amount, which could be donated to various institutions that work for the cause of humanity, on Christmas day. Over-consumption of alcohol does not serve humanity; neither do loads and loads of loud, polluting fire crackers.

Fourth, you could sell old toys, clothes and other things which you could afford to sell. Give the money, you managed to collect, to your children and entrust them with the responsibility of deciding what to do with it. Hopefully, it will be spent for a good cause! When you trust them, they live up to your expectations. Otherwise, they will think twice before following your advice.

Fifth, please do ensure that you take some time off from work and spend time with your children. No excuses! I got a letter from a kid that his parents do not get enough time to spend with him. Time is one of the most sacred things you could give to your children. Please do not spend your precious time complaining about your children and torturing them by thrusting your gigantic expectations on their tender shoulders.

In a nutshell, whatever activity you plan to do this Christmas, make sure it is made more fun and meaningful by adding the “giving” dimension to it. On the one hand, this will make your children better human beings. On the other hand, when they grow up, they will have a tradition which they can continue with their children.

Relish the smile on your child’s face when he/she has done something that has made both him/her and yourself proud. You would feel proud when your child would have mastered the art of giving selflessly.

I hope this Christmas would be a different experience for all of you. I have made up mind to give every single child the gift that he/she totally deserves. This would be a memory cherished by each one of you under the soft glow of your Christmas tree.

Hoping to see some change!

Merry Christmas,

Love Santa.


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