One thing I ask of most of the LifeStory interviewees during the filming is, "Please describe a typical Christmas (Hanukkah) or Thanksgiving when you were a child." The answers as you can imagine are priceless. There are funny stories, touching stories and stories with surprising themes, but the most common answers revolve around the wonderful times they had that brought family together. The answers are especially meaningful when I'm interviewing those in their 80s and 90s who describe Christmas during the Great Depression. While most of you might think the stories revolve around what they didn't have, they instead beautifully revolve around what they did have. Those special gifts that were hand made. Those innovative gifts of natural elements brought together with love in mind. Never have I heard a single story about how stressed out anyone was over the holidays.
While their faces light up describing that special gift made from whatever was available by caring, loving hands, I am reminded of what I hear as I go around town during this season. I just can't believe what I hear. "This isn't going to be as good a Christmas as last year because we don't have the money for the right gifts." Or "We're not going to be able to have Christmas this year." I then ask myself, "What's it all about anyway?" Whether you celebrate the miracles of the Maccabees or the birth of the messiah, it's not about the gifts! It's about being together with family and friends. It's not the monetary value of a gift, it's about the joy you give of being with one another.
Here's to a season of health, love, joy and what could make the season special for a loved one of yours. If you're not sure of what I mean, just ask the oldest living person in your family ... and watch their face light up as they give you their answer.