What do you remember most about Christmas growing up?
- I remember listening to my favorite Christmas cassette tape with little elves on the cover. The “pa rum pump pum pum” in “The Little Drummer Boy” always made me giggle, as I sang “bum bum bum bum,” instead.
- I remember helping my mom make cookies – always amazed at how fast she made batch after batch.
- I remember the joy I felt as a child as I ran through the door just so I could hear the jingle bells on our doorknob ring.
- I remember making a red and green paper chain and ripping off a link off for each passing day leading up to Christmas.
- I remember singing Christmas carols at the nursing home, watching the old folks sing along with us, and smiling as it filled my heart with gladness.
- I remember learning a dance to the “Sugar Plum Fairy” song in ballet and then seeing a live performance of The Nutcracker in Detroit. I loved it.
- I remember ringing Salvation Army bells with my mom – dressed in layers to keep warm and getting smiles and dollars dropped in our kettle from strangers.
- I remember going to the Christmas tree farm and walking and walking in the freezing cold until we found the perfect tree, cut it down, and tied it to the top of our wood-paneled station wagon.
- I remember digging through our ornament box, in search of my favorite ornament, an adorable little smiling snowflake.
- I remember finding a child on the angel tree at church to buy a present for – always choosing a little girl around my age.
- I remember lighting candles at church during the Christmas Eve service, being careful not to drip wax on my hands.
- I remember my mom telling the story of why she put an orange in our stocking each year – for good luck in the coming year. We rolled our eyes, but now I treasure it each year.
- I remember loving Thanksgiving because I knew the day after meant it was time to get out all the Christmas decorations.
I created this list as a reminder to myself that Christmas is not about gifts. In fact, I can barely remember any gifts I’ve received through the years (besides my Easy Bake Oven, which ended up being junk).
With this, I’m making a promise to myself: To never, ever go overboard with extravagant gifts for our children on Christmas.
A few presents, yes, that’s OK. But children don’t remember those things years down the road. Instead, they recall the magic of the season filled with bringing joy to others and doing things as a family. I can’t wait to start our own traditions.
What at is your favorite childhood memory of the holiday season?