I grew up as an only child. People usually think that means I was spoiled terribly Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I was in some ways. My parents had lived through the Depression as teenagers and they were concerned that I would put too much emphasis on things.
So they started a couple of traditions when I was so young that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ever remember anything else.
Beginning at the same time the Salvation Army Santa began cheerily ringing his bell outside the store, my dad handed me a dollar every time we went into a store, even if it was twice in one day.
He told me that putting the money in the red kettle was magic that made the world a better place whenever you did it.Ã‚Â More importantly if you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss even one opportunity all the way through until Christmas then you changed a life. A WHOLE life?
I was impressed and empowered.
The other tradition was the three gift rule. It is exactly what it sounds like. No matter how many presents Santa left my friends, he only put three under the tree for me. Three Wise Men brought gifts to baby Jesus and if it was good enough for Him, it was good enough for me.
Do you know I never even thought about it? It was the way it was and we have the three gift rule at my house, now.
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say whether or not that these gestures impacted my life and caused me to be more compassionate and more generous than I would have been, but I can say that two of my greatest strengths are generosity and compassion.
And I put at least a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket every time I go by. I just wish they would go back to having Santa ring the bell.
What are the traditions you had growing up?