Making Memories

The holiday season fills us with warm memories. Grandma’s butter cake. The smell of cinnamon. But not every home experiences the joy of the season. Not every family gathered around the dining room table on Thanksgiving experiences unity. Not every house knows peace. And although you and I cannot fix every family, we CAN make a difference in what a child remembers about this season. How? By helping to make a memory. Because holiday memories are made by design.

As you know, holiday celebrations differ, depending upon a family’s heritage and faith. Inside our homes we all have the right and the privilege of expressing our faith or lack of faith, with conviction. But outside of our homes, the space is reserved for the children. For every child’s eye should delight in the joy and happiness that the holiday season brings.

Inside our home in 1957 – the year the Soviet Union launched the first orbiting satellite, Sputnik – my Aunt attached a small gold covered gift to every box she wrapped. She said it was our “Sputnik.”

But outside of our home – the space which was dedicated to neighboring children – my father built a life-sized manger and nativity scene. Whole families would make the trek through the snow up to the grove of hemlock pine to view the holy scene. Under the low-hung branches stood a concerned Joseph, while Mary knelt at the baby’s side. Animals were scattered in strategic spots peeking out from behind the hay.

Across the street, a sleigh waited for gifts while next door, blue stars were suspended to light up the landscape. Up and down the street, candles glowed in windows, flags flew, and snowmen proudly stood at attention. And in this rich and diverse heritage of celebration, our neighborhood thrived.

If you have not yet added the holiday spirit to your front door, consider sharing the joy of the season with those in your midst. Add a little bit of who you are to the scene. And in the process, you may just be making a memory.

Editor’s Note: If you need a little help explaining Santa to young children, here’s a letter from the man himself that will do it for you.