Another holiday season is here. We are bombarded with marketing tactics to buy the latest gadget or search for the lowest price or sprint for the new “IT TOY” this season. Holiday madness or Holiday gladness? Which one will you choose?
Memories are very powerful. They are encoded in our brains and strongly influence our lives. When our children look back on their childhood holiday memories, what do we want them to remember?
Despite our efforts to get the perfect toy or video game, etc. for our children, most can’t even remember what it was that they received last year for the holidays.
I remember years of taking so much time to send out holiday cards, get matching wrapping paper and bows and the latest decorations. I HAD to make all the Christmas cookies we always made. My girls had beautiful Christmas dresses. We went to church and made the rounds to all the families.
Then last year, something happened. Something very minor but enough to make the light go on. My 21-year-old daughter spent the entire day on Christmas in the ER needing her tonsils out. She was in a lot of pain. While I felt horrible for her and stayed by her side the whole day, a certain calm came over me.
There would be no rushing to church, then travelling to see family. Cookies were not going to be eaten or presents unwrapped. Instead, we went home, curled up in pajamas, drank 7-UP and watched Christmas movies. I was secretly relieved. It was nice to sit in the glow of the Christmas Tree (and Netflix!) and just be together.
I am certainly not suggesting you throw the towel in a skip the holidays. Just focus on the things that will really matter when your kids reflect on the holidays when they are older. Things such as Christmas Pajamas, going to church, and time spent with family. Sharing stories and special memories of loved ones who may not be spending this holiday season with your kids. Perhaps a special ornament handed down as a keepsake.
For those of us in the Trauma Field of work, we know what the experts tell us about memories; good and bad. Sights, sounds but especially smells can evoke strong memories. So table the family conflict, keep your body language and words in check so your kids can look back some day and have good memories!