John Lewis CommercialTypically this is the time of year that I start hating television commercials more than I already do. Each and every one elicits screams from my children about this thing they must have for Christmas, or that thing that Santa surely should bring them. The ads even leave me quipping to my husband repeatedly, "If you're looking for something for me ... " It all becomes about what we want and what we're getting, and suddenly the magic of the season is one big materialistic mess.

Oh we do what we can to temper it all with the real meaning of the season, but still I wonder if at their ages -- 8 and nearly 3 -- they really are thinking much about anything beyond what they're getting. I hope so; because as cliche as it may be, giving truly is better than receiving, and that's what I really want them to know. And that's what this commercial from retailer John Lewis illustrates so well. 

I know, I know, more materialism, but just watch and you'll see what I mean. Grab a tissue first though.

Tell me it didn't make you cry? While yes, it is an advertisement for a retailer to sell more goods and thus feed the whole materialism component of the season, the emotion it contains is just so real and pure. It exemplifies exactly what I hope my children come to see as the real beauty of the season and life in general -- giving to others. Sappy, but true.

So how do you instill that kind of altruism in children? Like everything else, I think it's our example as parents that has the greatest impact. We can say things all we want, but it's what we do that makes a real difference. Perhaps it means instead of just running about picking up gift cards to cross the gifts off of my list, I take my children with me to pick out more thoughtful gifts for everyone. Maybe it's taking time to have them make more homemade gifts for people, or doing charity work this time of year. Whatever it is, this commercial really makes me want to work harder this year -- and for years to come -- to foster it, because I can't think of any gift in the world that I would rather give to my children.

How do you teach your children about the beauty of giving to others?


Image via YouTube