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Reflecting on Christmas Past, Present

Posted by Ryan Sanders

The following is a post from Dave Sniadak, Minnesota-based award winning video and PR guy by trade and NFL videographer for fun, Dave is Creative Director at Axiom and writes at his blog HDHubby. Follow him on Twitter @DaveSniadak. Dave writes this story as part of NFI's "The 12 Dads of Christmas: 12 Dads. 12 Stories. 12 Memories." If you are interested in writing about your most memorable Christmas, send us an email.

12 Dads of Christmas

For me, Christmas was always a magical time of year. Where I lived growing up, we almost always had snow - lots of it - but not bitter biting, freeze your nose off cold that kept you locked up in the house. I would spend hours rolling snowmen and exploring the backwoods behind our house, checking for tracks and remnants of elves sneaking around the yard. And while I never went into the holiday season with a set expectation of what I'd get from Santa, he certainly never disappointed. 

My favorite Christmas was the year I got two of my most memorable gifts - cross country skis, and a Nintendo Entertainment System. While most of my friends would have holed themselves up in their rooms playing Super Mario Brothers, I strapped on my skis and explored the great outdoors. This took my winter treks to a whole new level. That said, I did spend a lot of time playing Tecmo Bowl over the next twelve months.

The one thing that was missing during all this self-exploration and technological enrichment? My dad. He was around, don't get me wrong, and as I learned later in life, he was pretty much responsible for making sure Santa took care of me. But at 11, 12, 13, who wanted to play Duck Hunt with your dad? And when it came to carving out tracks in the yard with my new skis, well, that was a solo adventure all the way. For my father, I believe, seeing the excitement and joy we had in playing with the presents "Santa" left under the tree was all he needed. Or was it? I haven't broached the subject with him out of fear of what he might actually say - that I turned him away from opportunities to play with me because I was so absorbed in my own world that I couldn't let him in.

Now, as a father myself, I see the same joy and exuberance in my own children's eyes when they tear into a new present. But as my kids celebrate the carnage that ensues during Christmas Morning, I feel a longing to play, just as much as they do. I actively participate in the building of Lego sets, toast to the holidays during tiny tot tea parties, and race toy cars along the table top. During all of this, I can't help but think, "Should I take a step back? Do I need to lessen my role in their role playing to encourage self-confidence and spur imagination?"

The holiday cliche says 'tis better to give than to receive. Can this be applied to our interactions with our kids on this most magical of mornings? The memories we receive by giving our time to our kids should be a two-fold reward - good for us, but great for them, as it hopefully sets a standard for parent-child engagement. When it comes to Christmas, I don't ever want to grow too old to play - hopefully you won't either.

Happy holidays to you and yours! 

Question: What makes Christmas special for you?

Visit our "12 Dads of Christmas" page for more on connecting with your family and other dads like you! Join in and share your most memorable Christmas by recording a video, sharing a picture, or posting a comment on this blog, Facebook or Twitter @TheFatherFactor. Use the hashtag #12DadsofXmas to connect!

Topics: fatherhood, parenting, family, kids, holidays, tips, dad

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