I was musing over holiday traditions, and how they’re stylized to make kids “work” for the good stuff.
On Easter, children are dressed in finery. They have baskets and run around searching for hidden eggs, some of which are filled with candy and treats.
On Halloween, costumed kids armed with sacks or bags, run around asking for treats.
At Thanksgiving, best behavior is encouraged and more dressing up nicely. Many kids, particularly in large families, eat at the “kiddie table.” Families all gather together for a huge dinner and bonding.
Christmas is the big one, actually requiring the most “work.” Little tykes assist with tree decorations, and put out milk and cookies to entice the Jolly One. Why they even have to be good ALL YEAR LONG for the mother lode, because he knows who’s “naughty or nice.”
What work skills might holiday traditions instill in young people?
Easter hunts encourage them to dress nicely. A sharp dresser is better received at job interviews. The hunt itself encourages problem solving and objective reasoning. It also teaches that sometimes you try your best, and a good one still gets away – acceptance of that fact with a positive attitude.
Trick-or-treating involves more thought, planning and awareness skills. See the porch light on? That’s a good indication treats are forthcoming, seek there. Then sell yourself with personal flair while remembering the Open-Sesame of yelling “Trick or Treat!” All good sales people know how to close a sale.
Thanksgiving reminds children again that dressing well strikes approval from higher-ups. There is a right of passage, or “moving up the ranks,” event that occurs over time with segregated seating – children mature and are then allowed to sit at the “grown-ups table” (with the heads of state, or those in a supervisory capacity). The lingering reminder of being thankful for what we have infuses patience and appreciation for ones career, no matter how humble or revered.
Santa-pleasing requires developing consistency of proper behavior and helpfulness. Otherwise, the work “bonus” at the end of year might be lacking!
All holidays are repeat performances through the years. Practice makes perfect.
Did you think it was all just fun and games? There’s actually a method to the madness.