Christmas, ELF Style Perhaps for all of us, religious or secular, the Christmas season takes us back to our childhood experiences of the holiday and forms the basis for our preparation for it today. As a child, the wonder of decorating the Christmas tree with glittering ornaments and shiny tinsel began the holiday season of the twelve days of Christmas. We had a sparkly calendar that had doors to open each day that contained a quote from scripture, signifying the religious meaning of Christmas — the birth of Jesus. Stories of Christmas, such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” were read to us at night before bedtime, while my brother and I would stare at the packages so beautifully wrapped. We would spend hours wondering which ones were ours and imagining what they contained. And of course, we would go to bed hoping Santa would bring us the toys we longed for. Each year, many of us want to experience the same feelings of wonder and anxious anticipation of Christmases past. Whether it’s through decorating the tree with family or watching the little ones’ eager, impatient faces as Christmas morning ticks closer, that feeling never truly leaves us. So, where did gift giving begin, and why is it important? I have never asked myself that question before – it’s just something that is done this time of year, every year. Curious to know what those around me thought, I asked some folks to see what Christmas means to them and found that the gift-giving expectation is a stressful time for many in the business world. Originally, gift giving wasn’t dedicated to one day during December. The celebration of giving gifts to people originally spanned across several days or weeks. The Dec. 25 became the dedicated gift-giving day sometime in the fourth or fifth century. Giving gifts to people dates back hundreds of years – back to when the Magi brought tributes to baby Jesus, and even further back, during winter festivals held throughout Europe. One of the most common gift-givers and most known modern stories told is about St. Nicholas, who brings gifts to children all across the world. Old St.
Nick was introduced to America in the 19th and 20th centuries, his stories brought over by European immigrants. In our office, we have so many clients we appreciate and want to acknowledge, but what if the gift seems trivial? Or what if we miss giving a gift or sending a card to someone who is important and we want to recognize? People’s feelings can get hurt, which is so contrary to the spirit of Christmas and the gift of everlasting life. It wasn’t until I came to South Carolina as an adult that I experienced the White Elephant method of gift giving. Oh, what a relief it was! Having to buy one gift for a holiday gathering is infinitely less stressful than buying a gift for each person, and it’s a lot more fun too! Now we do a White Elephant Christmas luncheon amongst my elf staff (Get it? … Santa’s elves. Ho, ho, ho…) each year that we enjoy with eggnog or other beverages. We have a great time stealing the best gifts from each other, of course in accordance with the three- steal-rule per gift. No matter how you celebrate this year, we wish you a merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all! -Alysoun Eversole www.eversolelaw.com 1www.eversolelaw.com
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