Over the past few years I have definitely been more of a grinch then a Cindy Lou Who when it comes to the holidays. I know a huge part of it has to do with the loss of my mom, who we always called Ms. Noel. She not only decked the halls, she would come up with new projects every year to decorate the neighborhood! Between her, Santa and my grandparents, we always had the latest and greatest under the tree! I didn’t even know I wanted a Cabbage Patch kid in 1986 until there was one under the tree and as I got older the memory became less about the doll and more about how my mom went about securing the “must have” gift of that year.
You see to me holidays always seem to bring out the best in everybody, right after they have brought out the stress in everybody! And the stress is what brings me to the grinch side! As I am sitting here writting this half the commericials on TV right now are about what time the stores open this weekend to start your holiday shopping. My advice to all of you this year, stay out of the stores and instead give your family a memory in the making this year for Christmas. Why? Because memories are what you will always take with you. In fact when I think of the holidays I can clearly remember a few gifts, but most of what I remember are the times spent with family.
Every Thanksgiving my grandma would put on these Pilgrim and Indian Hallmark candles and my siblings and I would spend hours playing with them. We had pilgrimage salt and pepper shakers that to this day we still do not know which one has the salt and pepper. I couldn’t pronouce cornucopia, so for the rest of my grandma’s life she called it a copey-copey, because thats what I called it. I cherish the fact while I don’t have my grandparents anymore I still have the candles and salt/pepper shakers to put out.
At Christmas growing up we always got invited to a Christmas Party at the Matilla’s house. As part of their family tradition they brought to America with them, they put real candles on the tree. Every year before the older kids got to light the candles, Arnie would explain to us how it had to be the perfect tree, with the branches just right in order to have candles on it. The older kids got to light the candles, and at the end of the night the younger kids got to snuff them out. It truly was a right of passage when we moved up to a candle lighter. When they were no longer able to do it, I felt like a part of Christmas was gone. I didn’t understand the value of a memory yet.
One year for Christmas my parents bought us all cross-country ski’s and what I remember most about that Christmas was that a lot of snow had fallen throughout the day and my parents tooks us out on our new ski’s around the neighborhood. I don’t remember the ski’s, just how cool the snowflakes looked in the street lights and our family being the only ones out on the streets that night. The ski’s were a part of the bigger gift which was a family cross country skiing trip to Yellowstone National Park. Imagine the memories from that! Skiing right at Old Faithful!! Talk about magical.
When I was a little older, my parents decided to take us to Disneyland for Christmas one year instead of giving us gifts. While I didn’t understand the significance of that being our only gifts then, I look back and am so grateful my parents took that time to give us a magical Christmas experience. Again I do not remember a ton of the details, but I remember my parents laughing hysterically at the german lady getting into swim at the hotel pool (apparently Wyoming kids were a little tougher to the outside pool tempature then she was.). I remember being mad they made us go to the Queen Mary and Spruce Goose instead of Knotts Berry Farm. I remember how excited my brother and I were to see He-Man at Universal Studios! Mostly I remember that my parents took me to see my hero, Mickey Mouse and that we ran into my cousins there too!
I know this is a travel blog and I am in the travel industry, so getting people to travel is what will pay my mortgage and put food on my table. But I am not putting this out there right now for financial gain, I am putting this out there because that gift you have circled on the Black Friday flyer, that you will rush through Thanksgiving dinner to get in line for, probably wont be remembered as long as that game the family all sat down to play instead. Those items you get up early Friday morning to get, those lists you stress to make, are just moments. This Holiday season, figure out a way to make a memory, whether it is skiing down the streets of your neighborhood at night or planning a vacation so you can spend quality, uninterupted time together, give your family something that truly will last a lifetime.
Cindy Lou Who had it figured out, so did all of Whoville:
“Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.”
May you and your families truly have a very blessed Thanksgiving weekend!