Holiday memories are wrapped in love and joy, not boxes and tags!
Holidays are stressful and can sometimes feel less than magical especially if you are unemployed, amidst a PCS move or far from family. It’s difficult to get excited about lighting the tree when you are struggling to keep the lights on in your home or arriving at a new duty station three days before Christmas will put a damper on even the jolliest elf. Joy and cheer are hard to find when your family can’t be together for the holidays so when our circumstances make the holidays less than festive, remember the wise words of Linus from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” He reminds Charlie Brown (and all of us) what “Christmas is all about”. Christmas is not about absurd decorations, metal trees or presents, it is about love, hope, and peace. So, when your holiday spirit begins to dwindle focus on the true meaning of the season.
Check out these ideas to help create lasting holiday memories:
My two-year-old is a budding chef, he loves helping in the kitchen, stirring, seasoning, and searing (okay I sear the steaks, but he watches) so we’ll be spending much of our holiday cooking and creating (but no baking, it requires way too much math). I soak up these precious moments spent with my youngest and who knows maybe he’ll become a Top Chef one day! This holiday season get cooking with your spouse, your kids or your parents. The sense of smell is closely linked to memories so cooking together is a perfect way to make memories. Every time you smell a gingerbread cookie, you’ll be flooded with fond memories that last far longer than anything purchased at a store.
Give Back Together
Celebrate the season of giving by giving your time to a worthy cause. This year our family will be laying wreaths at our installation’s cemetery with “Wreaths Across America”. Charities and non-profits are desperate for volunteers especially this time of year so search your local area for opportunities to lend a hand. Help serve holiday meals, participate in a toy drive, “adopt” a child or family in need or collect blankets for the homeless in your area. Volunteering makes your heart grow bigger and connects people to the community. It is humbling and serves as a reminder of life’s blessing, which is something we all need particularly during this crazy time of year.
In the end it is the people that surround us that matters most! Several years ago, my neighbor and fellow military spouse hosted Christmas Eve open house, we spent the early part of the day visiting with other military families in the area. That year we still lived near my family, but the other guests were alone for the holidays, so we invited everyone back to our house for our extended family’s Christmas Eve celebration. The mix of family, new and old friends made the day unforgettable and one of our best holidays ever. Are you hosting a holiday party this year? Why not invite those who may not have family and friends nearby? Your house will be bursting with holiday joy, and you will be giving the gift of fellowship to those who need it the most.
“He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
Maybe Christmas, he thought...doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps...means a little bit more!”
-Dr. Seuss from “How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas”
Wishing everyone a magical and memorable holiday season!
What is your favorite holiday memory? How do you create holiday memories?
Written by: Amanda Markmeier