The fourth quarter, with all its many holidays, seems to arrive earlier each year.
Almost before the “back to school” products are off the shelves, the Christmas products begin to appear. The trick-or-treaters are still picking out their costumes to come knocking on my door while the leaves begin to fall when my local newspaper starts carrying a huge ad with a countdown to the day Santa comes looking for my chimney.
And I’m right in the midst of it — sifting through catalogs and scanning internet sites looking for products for the season. Pulling out containers and starting to envision the designs that I will be creating.
“Wait a minute!” I want to shout. “Where is the magic of the season? What happened to that little girl who could hardly wait for the Sears Roebuck holiday catalog to arrive so that she could drool over the gifts she knew she would never have but could dream about anyway? Where did she go?”
“I’ve grown up,” I reply.
“Well, slow down, and retreat to those days of long ago,” the little girl inside of me exclaims with exasperation. “You may have a grandmother face now but I’m still here, deep inside. When it’s all over, are you really going to be interested in the latest profit and loss statement?”
I pause and look back through the past years that have been good to me. I’m closer to the end of that yardstick called life now than that little girl of long ago who drooled over the pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog. Hopefully I’ve learned a few things along the way.
One of the more valuable things that I’ve learned is why I chose this business. I’m in the gift industry because I know that it allows me to create and share the magic of the holiday season throughout the year. I see the magic on a mother’s face when I deliver a gift from her faraway son. Or in the eyes of an excited four-year-old when an Easter basket arrives. I see the magic when I get an excited phone call or email from one of you telling me how something I wrote inspired you.
You see, I know that I’m not just in the gift business. I’m in the business of creating memories and magic.
That is why I created my gift business and then a digital magazine for the industry and the other services that accompany it. That is also why I’m still working it long after the age that most people retire and enjoy the good life. I’m not in it for the money. Been there. Have that. Sure, I love the challenge of making a profit — any true entrepreneur does. But that doesn’t create the magic.
The magic doesn’t come from being better than my competition or trying to create a better website or gift basket than they do. It comes from deep inside. The magic is what makes me sleep soundly at night and wake up excited to see another day. And when I do go to sleep that final time, it can be said that “I lived a magical life.”
Many others proceeded me and I learned their secrets of sharing the magic. When I am gone, there will be others who will carry the torch. The industry changes. The people in it change.
But as long as we are in business for the magic, regardless of the industry — and not just the money — the world will be a better place.