I was a little disappointed when I read about the Press Herald Toy Fund on Monday.

This is a great program for the holidays, and I am so glad that people are able to donate to it at this time of year. But I was very discouraged in reading the second paragraph of the story: “The holidays are coming and, as long as you’ve been good, you’ll receive special gifts to show how much you are loved.”

That is not what the holidays are about! I find it harder each year to teach my children the meaning of the holiday season with all the commercials, and crazy Black Friday sales advertised in my “special Thanksgiving newspaper!” For that paragraph alone, that is what makes the holidays stressful for parents to make good on that “promise.”

Where did this “promise” come from? Christmas is not about gifts! Children should not be good only one time of year, in order to get – not deserve – presents. Families need to give love, clothes, food, warmth and care to their children, and all the parents need in return is love and respect.

I do try to give our kids a few special gifts, but I never tell them that they deserve it or that I promised them these things. But I do have to remind them, all the time, why Christmas is celebrated and what our true gifts are.

Mari Mattuchio