Last week I heard a conversation between a husband and wife about Christmas last year. She asked him if he remembered what gift he gave her because she couldn’t remember it. He couldn’t remember. Then she said she couldn’t remember what she had given him either. After a very long pause, she recalled that it was a watch he never wears. Later in the conversation they reflected on the great time they had playing board games and sipping the special hot chocolate they made together that holiday.
That conversation prompted me to think about another time when my niece was young. There was a sizable pile of gifts for her from her parents, grandparents and other relatives. After opening the first four gifts, she just wanted time to play with the boxes and ribbons. The memory that remains for the entire family is having fun with her as she creatively played with the boxes.
Things vs. Memories
Perhaps we need to focus less on the stuff and more on the memory-making experiences during the holidays. Consider planning how you’ll spend time together, purchasing fewer gifts, and making life less hectic. Capture your experiences with your camera in order to make a collage or calendar to be a gift for next year.
Experiences you and your family might enjoy doing together include taking walks, building a snowman if there’s snow, baking and decorating cookies, playing charades, volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping an older neighbor, or creating a huge popcorn ball.
Memory-making experiences don’t necessarily cost anything, don’t require storage space, don’t need to be dusted, and won’t be shoved to the back of a closet. Take the money you would have spent and together decide how to use it for a vacation, building an emergency fund, or contributing to the continuing recovery needs of people who have experienced tragedies this year.
Fun and meaningful experiences can be the best gift of the season!