About the Episode :
The holiday season can mean different things for every person. It can bring joy and comfort, but can also cause uneasiness over gift giving and high expectations of ourselves.
Listen how Rick Jordan experienced Christmas as a young child, and how he brought forth the values he learned from his Uncle to who he is today.
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Just a couple days before Christmas today, we’re going to dive into gift giving and some of the tensions and amazing things that go behind that because I love giving gifts myself. I’m sure there’s going to be people you’re going to want to share this episode with. So, right now I’m going to ask you to please share this with at least three people and that way we’ll be able to send some Christmas cheer to them and just amazingly impact lives. Thank you. Let’s dive into this today.
Gift giving at the holidays. I’m going to tell some really one big stories of when I was a kid and kind of one of my favorite memories of being a kid with Christmas time in the holiday season. Now, I used to go to multiple houses and I’m sure that’s the case with a lot of you going to multiple homes on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and Christmas Eve though, it was always my Uncle Lowell’s house. This was on my mom’s side. Now my mom is the youngest of seven kids, if you can believe that, that’s pretty incredible. My uncle, he always had the entire family. I’m talking about his kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, all of his brothers and sisters coming over to his place on Christmas Eve and my mom’s maiden name was Drethe so it was the Drenthe, the family Christmas. Just an amazing time, lots of good food, delicious food and his home was always just like jacker rated insanely well for Christmas and this dude, he’s still alive. He’s an amazing uncle of mine, also an entrepreneur.
By the way, on my mom’s side, there’s actually three entrepreneurs in that family, three of the brothers because there were five brothers to two sisters in that family and three of the brothers are entrepreneurs. That’s my uncle, my uncle Craig and my uncle Arden, who passed away just a couple years ago but my uncle, he was one of the entrepreneurs and he always had a really nice home, and just decorated amazingly for Christmas. And one of the things I remember most about his decorations was he had this insanely awesome Christmas village that was inside his home, and you would walk in and always be there on display and it kept growing every year, it was pretty cool. So even that was one of the awesome things to look forward to every Christmas Eve to the point where it took up like an entire living room and you would have a train going through this thing, just wrapping around all the different parts of this village and he ended up getting motorized things at some point to where you know, the ice skaters were skating around and this was before LED lights. This is before a lot of the amazing electronics that we have today.
So, this was like a big deal, it would take him from what I remember, you know, like every night after work for like two weeks to set this whole thing up and it was just amazing to watch and I remember playing with the train that was really like my first experience when I was a really young kid, of these incredible electric trains. It was just a lot of fun going there, but there was one thing that I remember and you know, it’s probably tough for you, because we’re talking about gift giving today, right? It’s probably tough for you to remember a lot of the Christmas gifts that you’ve received, especially when you were a kid, especially when you’re a kid. There’s a few that I can remember but one of them was a gift from my Uncle Lowell and it was just a really, really good year for him that year, again, he was an entrepreneur, and I remember showing up and he just had gifts for quite literally everybody that was at the party.
Now remember how I told you that? This was a huge family? Right? My mom is the youngest of seven. Well, I counted at one point in time and I have 31 first cousins. Imagine that right? 31 first cousins. I don’t even know the second cousins and everything like that. I remember my grandmother’s 90th birthday. This whole surprise party thing was also a family reunion. I met cousins I hadn’t even met before in my life and I was like 30 years old, okay, it was crazy. I bet you there’s still a couple I know there’s at least two I can think of that I haven’t met but my uncle had gifts for everybody. This one year at the party and the reason why he had this party year after year after year is because he was like the happiest dude I ever knew still, to this day, the happiest dude that I ever knew, either. Even beyond my dad and my dad was always like, qualified by other people and saying like he was one of the jolly guys, they would use that word jolly, right, the whole the whole word that’s used to describe freaking Santa Claus, right? But my Uncle Lowell topped my dad. When it came to Christmas.
He just wanted to have everybody have just the biggest smiles on their face, and wanted to see them and genuinely spend time with every single person in the family every single year. It was just absolutely incredible and this one year when he did really well, he had gifts for everybody, every single person at the Drenthe, the family Christmas. Now that there were like freaking 75 people there that night and this gift I remember was this plane. It was an airplane. It wasn’t like a motorized thing wasn’t a remote control but it was extremely well built. It was like a model plane. He didn’t build it but he kind of made some from like some cast iron and some steel and it was red with some yellow stripes on. I still remember the way that it looked, the propeller just you flick that thing and it would flow so smoothly. It was a biplane, so it had wings on the top and the bottom. It was just this thing was well built, it was quality. So it wasn’t even like he went cheap on these things to get 75 gifts for people.
This thing was just incredible and I remember walking in. I was already looking forward to the night because I did every year I was, you know, 13 years old, I believe around this time and I walked in and he just says “Merry Christmas.” Then hand me the gift. Even the gift was impressive. The gift had my name on it, okay? He had names on all the gifts for all 70 Something of these people that came to his house that were part of this huge family of mine and of his and my name was on it. I was just blown away at this moment because of the Christmas spirit that this dude brought to my life, that my uncle brought to my life on this Christmas Eve when I was 13. I think back to it now of all the amazing timing, there was really, really frickin good food there, too. I mean, this is the Midwest, we’re talking about amazing food and just this spirit that was in this house that he brought on Christmas Eve was just absolutely incredible and then when I received this gift I was absolutely blown away and I think about giving, and this was one of my thoughts because I see individuals buying gifts and I see people making lists and just my personal opinion, I don’t understand the Christmas list very much unless somebody really doesn’t know you. A lot of people say that I’m really really hard to buy for. My mom just got me a birthday gift the other day. That was probably one of the best birthday gifts, you know, people say I’m really hard to buy for because I always just go out and buy what I want when I want it and I’m doing well in life.
So there’s things that I want, I just typically get them but the simplest things and this I believe stems from this plane that my uncle got me when I was just 13 years old and having year over year at Christmas Eve. My mom got me for my birthday this year, just some coffee and some popcorn. Just amazing coffee, and some of the best freaking popcorn that exists I believe in the country, which is Nuts on Clark. Now they don’t quite beat Garrett’s, I’ll tell you that one but Nuts on Clark is probably second best. You know, the Chicago mix is the caramel corn and the cheddar popcorn mixed in one that’s called the Chicago mix. For people that don’t know the dough limit Chicago, where I’m from and where I’m at and that simple of a gift that doesn’t even cost much was one of the best gifts that I’ve ever gotten from my mom, because it was just it’s just me, it’s simple and it just brought a smile to my face very similar to this plane that I was not expecting that my Uncle got for me.
Now, I know individuals asked for lists every year, you know, or they’ll feel, even worse, they might feel obligated to buy a Christmas gift for somebody else even thinking, “Well, if that person spends this much on me, then I have to spend that much so I have to match them.” I Want you to understand today that that’s not what this season is about. This season is about that toy plane. This season is about giving out of the generosity of your heart. I even talked about this on a LinkedIn live just a week and a half ago about bonuses for employees. There’s the generosity and benevolence that you can have just like my uncle did for me with this plane, which by the way that I kept for years, and I still have this plane. It’s not on display anywhere right now but I kept this thing, even from moving from house to house to house over the years because it meant so much to me on that night and it’s just an amazing memory that I kept from when I was 13 years old because of the feelings that I had that night, because my uncle made that special for me.
My gift giving and my desire to give gifts to everybody else, stems from these childhood experiences of the benevolence of my Uncle Lowell. I never feel obligated to give a gift to anyone else. In fact, I always look for the opportunity to give a gift to somebody, whatever it is, even if it’s just a $10 Starbucks gift card over iMessage on my iPhone, to make that day special for that individual, I’m always looking for the opportunity to do that, why? Not because I want to match them or I want to do one up, I think they’re expecting it or I feel obligated, I’m doing it because I want them to feel good. I want to bring them an amazing day by just doing this tiny little thing to say I’m thinking about you and I care about you. That’s what Christmas is like how my uncle made me feel.
So as you go into this weekend, you know, you’ve probably already bought gifts for everybody at this point because again, it’s just you know, like two days away at this point Christmas isn’t you might have even already had a Christmas celebration with family this past week. I plan on this for next year because I know you I know this is a feeling because I’ve I’ve talked with people, other people in my extended family about this to where they’ll receive a big old gift this year and then they’ll go out even like the next week, and buy a bigger gift or something to match what they got for the person that gave them that Christmas gift on Christmas Day. Just because they quote unquote, feel bad and think that they have to match it. What if the intentions of the person that gave you the gift was just to be like my Uncle Lowell. They only got it for you. Only for the reason that they wanted you to have a Merry Christmas, that they had no expectations in return whatsoever and they just have the hope that it puts a smile on your face and brings you Christmas cheer.
What if that was the only intention that they had was that good, merry, pure, wholesome Christmas cheer that they wanted to bring to you and you know what, you have the opportunity to do the same for them, and not just on Christmas either. Maybe you think about that person two months from now and you’re like, “Oh, man, they care about me, you know, I care about them too. Maybe I’m just going to send them a $10 Starbucks gift card.” Then when it comes to any other time during their time because Christmas is not the only time for gifts. It’s one of the times obviously you know, I love freaking giving gifts at Christmas again, because my Uncle Lowell but Christmas doesn’t have to be the only time for gifts. You can bring that same spirit, that same care, that same honor to anybody else at any time of the year. This Christmas, throw the obligation out the window, throw the self judgments out the window.
Maybe because you don’t have as much money or you got hit hard this year financially and you can’t do much for anybody else or maybe you can’t even do anything at all. I’ve had that happen in my family to where a sibling would center and be like, “Hey, we’ve had a rough year. There’s really not much we can do for anybody this year.” You know what I do in return? Be like, “Oh my gosh, it’s been such a low year for them. How can I lift them up this Christmas?” So if you’re that person that’s had financial difficulty this year and you’re struggling. It’s okay. What would happen if you decided to just not judge yourself this year and just decided to show up and just be with everybody else and allow them to be there for you this year? Maybe that’s what you need more than anything else.
Imagine yourself sitting there, just allowing everybody else this year to love you because you’ve had a rough year. You don’t have to buy a gift for somebody else to make them smile because just like me, when I hear somebody is having a bad day or a bad week or a bad year what lifts me up and fulfills me as being able to put a smile on that person’s face. So maybe that’s the best Christmas gift that you could get for somebody else this year is just allowing them to love you and bless you with a gift or with food or with an amazing night and an amazing Christmas party with family and friends. That’s what this season is all about.
When it comes to social aspects, that’s what this season is all about. go into this year and think about next year just saying how can I bring this chair and how can I extend it to everyone else throughout the rest of the year because my Uncle Lowell Christmas cheer has extended from when I was just a kid. I started going there at five and six years old when I was thirteen and he got me this gift, this model plane, all the way through. It’s carried me the cheer that he brought to my life has carried me all the way through to this very day. That’s what Christmas is about. Merry Christmas.