From the backseat of the minivan one day, I heard my 10-year-old start a conversation with his siblings. “Remember when. . .” And those two words squeezed my mama’s heart.
This is why the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love creating those “remember when” moments.
The “remember when” moments my middle child (and only girl) has are usually couched a little differently. She’s eight now but still pipes up sometimes with “remember when daddy said,” and the memory that follows is something that happened when she was maybe three years old. Or she’ll say, “remember when I accidentally,” and what follows is usually not the happiest memory, or is one that everyone else would rather forget.
I’m not talking about those “remember when” moments.
I’m talking about the “remember when” moments like, “remember when mom and dad let us stay up late and drink hot cocoa by the fire.” Or another favorite, “remember when we drove through all the neighborhoods and saw all the houses with pretty lights?” “Remember when we rode the train and saw Santa Claus?”
This time of year is a fantastic one for creating memories and traditions. The traditions don’t have to be big, break the bank ideas (though the Polar Express in Branson City, NC, is worth the visit, and the money!).
Memories are not rooted in money spent. Memories are rooted in time and laughter, and traditions are born in the repetition of well-loved actions.
I know I am not the only fan of the hit show, “This Is Us” on NBC. When you think about what made the Pearson childhoods special, it was those traditions and memories that Jack worked hard to create. His childhood was not a happy one, but he was determined to create magic for his children, and he did. I may not be Jack, or Randall even, but we can all create a little bit of that holiday magic ourselves by orchestrating some “remember when” moments.
For our family, it’s the 25 days of Christmas. I started when my children were toddlers, and each year it changes a bit. Each day we do something with a little holiday spirit and have some chocolate. Very little of what we do costs more than gas money. We see parades, drive around and look at holiday lights, visit tree farms, bake cookies, read stories, snuggle up by the fire, and watch movies. All of these activities are about spending time with each other and making memories I hope will last a lifetime.
However your family celebrates this holiday season – whether it’s with Elf on Shelf (which I continue to refuse to do), eight nights of Chanukah, 25 days of Christmas, Advent wreaths, or Christmas movie marathons, I hope you make the most of spending time together, and create dozens of future “remember when” moments. Even if it’s “remember when Mom was trying to put the star on the tree, and it fell over on her?” (true story) – the memories are gifts that will last far beyond the gifts they open this season.