Holiday Joy or Overwhelm:  A Lesson from a 5 Year Old

November 27, 2015

Several years ago, a colleague returned from the Christmas holiday with this story about his daughter.  He, his wife, and small daughter daughter had moved from the East Coast to the Midwest just three weeks before Christmas.  This was a big life event for a five year old, and so their extended family decided to send her lots of gifts, and he and his wife went over the top to make their house festive for Christmas quickly to make it really special for her in every way they could think of.   


Christmas arrived and the little girl had fun tearing into the mountain of gifts as little kids do.  As the day passed into night, they collected all her new treasures and put them in her room and left her to play for a while.  


After a while, they noticed they weren’t hearing anything from their daughter’s room, so they went to investigate.  When they went in, they noticed no toys, no presents, anywhere, just their daughter on the floor contentedly coloring away.  They knelt down and asked her what she did with all her gifts, did she not like them, was something wrong?  She got up, went over to her closet, and opened the door.  Shoved inside were all the gifts, hundreds of dollars worth of toys and gadgets and sparkly things.  


They asked her why she did that.  She returned to the coloring book that she had received earlier, which they noticed was one of her favorite fairy tales.   She said, “It was too much to look at.  I just love to color so this is the best gift of all.”  And so, her parents found a couple other coloring books, joined her on the floor, and contentedly colored away together the rest of the night.  


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