// by Evan Hampton, CK Brand Manager //

“I just wanted a tape player!” I shouted this sentiment over my shoulder as I angrily stomped upstairs. It was Christmas morning 1990. I was 7-years-old. I remember it clearly, not necessarily because of my childish behavior, but because my four siblings enjoy watching old home movies and pointing out how entitled I was acting. My appreciation of the Christmas gifts I received, and my appreciation of the real meaning of Christmas were on full display. Not my best moment.

Fast forward thirty years, as a father of two boys myself, the holiday entitlement I displayed in my youth is apparently genetic. I see that they’re beginning to display the same attitude. My wife and I work hard to remind them that we are in a season of thankfulness, gratitude and joy.  for the arrival of the birth of Jesus our Savior. The true meaning of the Christmas season is found under that bright star Joseph and Mary followed. Unfortunately, my oldest son struggles with thinking the meaning of Christmas is having the same toy or gadget that his friend at school has.

This is the biggest struggle my wife and I have at Christmas. Helping our kids to understand what it’s all truly about. When I ask them they recite it to me with lackluster enthusiasm. “Yes, Dad. It’s about the birth of Jesus. We know.” How do we unleash a jolt of enthusiasm into the Christmas story so it competes with the hearts and minds of kids focused on toy robots, hoverboards and iPads?

One morning I decided to show my oldest son the infamous old home movie. He didn’t even know what a tape player was. I explained to him the childhood delight of recording your favorite songs off the radio and onto a tape so I could listen to them anytime I wanted. I didn’t have the joy of Siri, or iTunes or the ability to just pluck out a song from a smart speaker with simply my voice. Kids today will never know the cassette tape struggle.

As the video concluded, I explained to him that my attitude about a gift not received was a bigger deal than not receiving the gift. I told him we don’t even own a tape player anymore. The technology has been replaced. What I had wanted so badly had become obsolete quickly. In the same way, the toys and gifts he receives this Christmas will be tossed aside quickly, when the next big thing comes. The lasting gift we receive is the gift of Jesus. He was sent here to this world for us. He’s our gift. It’s a gift we get to enjoy on Christmas morning, the day after that, and for many days to come.

Finally, I think my son began to understand. The things of this world that control the desires of our heart will one day become obsolete, but the gift of Jesus is eternal. It’s a gift for all to open, to cherish, to celebrate.

Evan is originally from Lynchburg, VA. He married his wife, Christina, in 2010 in Atlanta where they met. They’ve been residents of Jacksonville, FL since 2010 where they raise their sons, Brantley and Beckett. When not at home, they can be found at Walt Disney World or delighting in the tasty goodness of Chick-fil-A.