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A Christmas Wish List

As we say good-bye to leaves on the trees, the green grass and the one day of weather that keeps us living in Minnesota, we welcome in a new season. A season that offers so much more then cold, ice and snow. As we transition into late fall and eventually into winter, we are soon reminded of those things in life that are truly important. The next few months will be filled with time spent with family and friends, holiday lights, and requests for the new latest and greatest gadget or toy.

Our daily lives will soon become consumed with shopping malls, online shopping, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Pre-Black Friday Sales, Pre-Pre-Black Friday Sales, and whatever other sales and offers the retailers try to throw at us. We can guarantee that our lives will be inundated with flyer after flyer and ad after ad for that perfect gift for your loved ones.

If you have not already been asked the questions, you know it is coming. It is the same question, I have been asking my children for about a month now. What do you want for Christmas? What is on your Christmas Wish List? Some of you might be asking what does this have to do with anything related to a travel agency? The answer to that question is everything.

As we get closer to Christmas, how many of you start to feel your house and tree resembles the picture on the right? In today's world, we are consistently fed this idea of not just wanting, but needing the newest and best phone, TV, drone, car, gaming system, or insert anything, life has to offer. Life has become less about the relationships and bonds we form with each other and more about the stuff we collect. Who has the most, the biggest and the best toys. We get so focused on filling our lives with material things that those relationships and personal connections that truly matter are lost in the noise and clutter. I am no different then anybody else and have been guilty of this in my life. While our tree has never looked like the picture, I feel sometimes that it might as well. As Americans we have become consumed with material things. If you do not believe me, go stand in your local retailers toy section and watch the people shopping in that section. It is amazing some of the things you see. If that does not convince you, I will take you on a shopping extravaganza on Black Friday. Just make sure to bring a thick padded coat and a helmet in case you get knocked down and trampled as people rush to secure a TV for that low low price. The problem is, while gift giving was a part of the very first Christmas when the Wise Men journeyed to see Jesus in the manger, it was not the focus. They were there to celebrate the birth of the Son of God. The gifts were brought secondary to their real purpose of being there. If they had simply wanted to send a gift, they could have FedEx it.

Why does this matter? I have seen a lot in my life and experienced a whole lot more, most of which has not been positive. Along the way, I can definitely tell you that relationships and personal connections have taken a backseat to material things or more accurately have taken a backseat to work. Personal relationships have suffered and time was and has been lost with family and loved ones. The one thing you will never get back in life is time. And we all have been given a limited amount of time. When we pass on, all our families will be left with is the memories we created with them.

How many times have you purchased that perfect gift for your child or family member only to see it sitting on a shelf a few months later. While speaking with a potential client the other day, we talked about what really matters and what is really important. It was clear during the conversation that family was extremely important and spending as much time with family was a priority. This potential client wanted to build memories and experiences with her family that would last a lifetime. She talked about foregoing material gifts at Christmas and planning a wonderful journey with her family. I, too, have thought about this concept. Why spend hundreds of dollars a year on gifts at Christmas that may be sitting on a shelf in a few months, when you can book a family getaway and experience life together and create lasting memories. I cannot tell you what I got as a 10 year old for Christmas, but I can tell you about the road trip in the Honda to California with my mom, brother and sister. This Christmas I encourage you to think outside the box with your gift giving. Why not provide your family with experiences and adventures, instead of only material things? What is on your Christmas Wish List?

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