What Did You Want for Christmas?

westjet santa

Click for WestJet video!

Wow! Have you seen it?

Have you seen the WestJet Christmas ‘commercial’?

Totally awesome.

If you haven’t seen it, you have to check it out on YouTube.

Here is the gist of the campaign…

WestJet put a huge Christmas present in the departure lounge of an airport somewhere in Canada. They installed a large TV screen in the front side of if that invites waiting passengers to scan their boarding pass. Upon doing so, Santa begins interacting with the passengers via live video. He knows their names (because of the scanned passes) and asks them what they want for Christmas.

Passenger after passenger, amidst squeals of delight at the remarkable technology, share with Santa what they would like for Christmas: socks, underwear, a flight home to family at Christmas, a camera, a warm scarf, new boots…the list goes on and on, with one family even asking for a 50″ TV.

As soon as the passengers give their requests, WestJet staff race off to purchase the requested gifts. There is an army of WestJetters who buy, wrap and deliver the gifts.

When the flight arrives the passengers head to the baggage carousel for their luggage, but the first luggage to arrive – amidst much regalia – are all the wrapped gifts heading down the luggage belt like a merry Christmas gift train spilling onto the carousel with the names of the recipients brightly displayed on each gift.

The passengers are “gobsmacked” – to borrow a fitting English term.

Joy and excitement fills the room as passenger after passenger unwraps the very thing they asked for merely hours before. Tears are shed. Hugs are shared. Joys are exclaimed. Thanksgiving is offered. It is an amazing site – just incredible.

There was one particular line that Santa shared on the blooper reel that caught my attention. A woman had just shared her desire with him for new socks. He indicated that was no problem, but then said, “You are going to wish you asked for something more.”

Something CS Lewis said popped into my mind,

“The problem is not that we desire too much – it’s that we desire too little.”

When all the gifts were being unwrapped by the passengers I have no doubt that a number of passengers looked at what other people were getting – especially the family who got the 50″ TV – and said to themselves, “I should have asked for more.”

So, what do you want?  Do you want too little?

Let’s look at this through some different lenses…

It is very easy within the successes and failures of everyday life to experience an erosion of deeper, perhaps more ‘idealistic’ desires for the greater good, and settle for those things that are supposed to make us happy, but don’t.  Cynicism can so easily grow within us like mold on the framework of our desires, as we slog through the daily demands of our work and life.  We settle for small desires that have no more significance to them other than our own personal pleasure.  We then find ourselves in a state of mediocrity having lost any overriding life passion.  The life we have built for ourselves, though perhaps perceived as very successful in the eyes of our peers, fails to satisfy.

That is because we are meant to be spent for the benefit of others.  Our true happiness best grows when planted in the soil of other people’s lives.  If all we want is what we can get, then all we will get is what cannot satisfy.  However, if our desire is what we can give to others, then what we receive in return will be truly satisfying.

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

In light of this, there are two ways we can choose to lead and live:

  1. Spend others for our own benefit.  What can I get?
  2. Spend ourselves for the benefit of others.  What can I give?

The former leads to emptiness, loneliness and dissatisfaction, while the latter leads to fullness, happiness and true riches.

If all we want is what we can get, in the end we will wish we had wanted more – for what we could give.

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Leading and Living on Purpose.