“What’s the most favorite thing you’ve ever gotten for Christmas?” I asked my son.
He looked at me blankly.
“Okay then, what’s your most favorite Christmas memory?”
He visably relaxed and smiled. “Oh, that’s easy….”
Some of you may not know this, while other parents are totally clued into this massive secret. And to be honest, there are not many places you are going to find out about it because all of those Christmas ads have been bombarding you for months. Television commercials, red and white colors and holiday music to lull you into a sense of false security. But here it is, a secret I only just found out, now that my kids are older. I wish I had known about it years ago…
The Truth About Christmas
The truth is, your kids don’t care so much about the presents. What?! Yeah, you heard me. I asked a group of kids what the best thing they ever got for Christmas, and I received blank stares. When I reworded the question to their best Christmas memory, they couldn’t stop talking.
Presents are fleeting. Memories are forever.
Toys more often than not, are played with for a month, maybe two, and chucked into the back of the closet, or lost under the bed- forgotten as then next thing catches their attention. My son told me that he thinks parents give kids more now because we had less when we were growing up. I think he may have hit it spot on- that coupled with companies pressing the commercial side of Christmas, it’s easy to forget the reason for the season, buried beneath the tinsel & candy canes.
Family Christmas Traditions
Traditions make the best family memories, not a plethora of presents. If you and your kids bake cookies every year, that’s what they’ll remember about Christmas. Do you have dinner at Grandma’s with your siblings and their families? That will stick with your child forever. They’ll remember the smells of cooking, cuddling up for a Christmas story, driving around to see the Christmas lights, and watching the Christmas parade.
Traditions make the heart of the holidays. What traditions did your family have around Christmas time? Do you carry on that tradition? As a parent, you have the power to change your family. Are you making fruitcake as gifts every year because your mom did? You are not your mom. Bacon wrapped pretzels may be more your style. Family Christmas photos with your Sunday finest feel like strangulation? Go casual. Wear Santa hats instead. You can chuck out traditions that are outdated, change them to suit you and your family, or even start new ones. Believe it or not, it’s these moments that your child will recall when they get older.
So before you hit that “add to cart” button for those Christmas presents, you should take a step back and consider if it’s better to invest your money into a toy that will be forgotten or invest your time in making a memory together that will last a lifetime.
My son warmed up as he told me about a Christmas picture I had taken of him and his sisters years ago. I had made them dress up- which no one was ever happy about it, and one of the girls held our dog- then a puppy, in the palm of her hand. Just before I took the photo, he remembered me saying: “Hey, who farted?” All three of them erupted into giggles. To me, it was the best Christmas photo ever. To him, it was a moment to remember.
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