Kids have a selective memory.
For example, if you tell them to pick their socks off of the floor…five minutes later when you inquire about the completion of said task…
“Oops, I forgot.”
But if you tell them, say on a Monday, that you might go out for ice cream the following weekend…as soon as their little feet hit the floor Saturday morning…
“Dad, are we getting ice cream today!?!”
The possibility of ice cream isn’t the only thing children choose to remember though.
Certain memories stick with kids for a lifetime.
Even though we lost my dad several years ago, there are some things about him I’ll never forget. Some memories will never fade…especially certain ones that involve Christmas.
In fact, there are two things about my dad at Christmastime that will always stand out in my mind.
One – He had a black belt in guessing what a present was before it was opened. It was uncanny. Actually, I’m pretty sure he had x-ray vision. I mean, seriously. He could guess anything! One time I got him a fishing reel and put it in a large shirt box with TONS of tissue paper in an attempt to throw him off. No such luck. He guessed it…in about 3.7 seconds.
Two – The man loved Christmas candy, especially thin mints and chocolate covered cherries. But he didn’t load up until after Christmas…when it was on sale…25…50…75% off! It was like a game to him…and he always won! Dad would get up bright and early the day after Christmas and begin his search. He had to beat you to his favorite brand of cherries because they were always in short supply. A few hours and about 3 months worth of candy later, he would return home…victorious!
I’m not sure I remember a single present I received as a kid.
But I remember those things about my dad.
Oh sure, there were toys I just had to have. And I probably received many of them over the years.
However, like my kids, I have a selective memory, and those presents just don’t make the cut.
You see, even though our head tells us otherwise sometimes, our heart knows Christmas is about so much more than presents. So whether consciously or subconsciously, our kids choose to remember what really matters most.
That’s why the best gifts you can give your kids on Christmas are memories…
…memories of candy shopping, present guessing, kitchen dancing, story telling, cookie making, picture taking, mini-van driving…you.
Trust me. They will cherish those memories one day…more than anything else you’ve ever given them.
So, don’t stress over whether or not you got the right Hot Wheels track, or the perfect fuzzy, brown boots, or the right Kindle Fire.
They won’t remember those things in a few years…or maybe a few months…anyway.
Just focus on spending time with them. Continue an old tradition or start a new one.
Like I said, I’m not sure I remember a single present I received as a kid, and I certainly don’t long for any of them to be under the tree again.
But, I’d give anything for one more early-morning run to the store…with a certain old country bumpkin…the day after Christmas…for thin mints and chocolate covered cherries…
I'd like to hear from you! What’s your favorite Christmas memory? What family traditions do you hope your kids remember? You can leave a comment by clicking here.