26 December 2009

Creating Christmas Memories That Will Last

As Seen in The Battlefords Regional Optimist.

Creating Christmas Memories that will last forever

Can you remember what you got for Christmas last year? How about the year before? Some of you who have a great memory probably can, but for some of us, that may be a stretch to think what we got 365 days ago.

It’s not that we don’t value what we got, it’s just Christmas seems to be getting pretty ‘routine’ and after a while, the gift goes right into the closet or on the shelf with everything else. It gets lost in everyday life.

Here is another question. Do you remember what you gave for Christmas? You probably remember more of those than what you received. You probably can remember what their face looked like as they opened your gift. But, do you think they remember?

Did you know in the United States alone $66 Billion was spent last year during the Christmas season! Some economists, like Joel Waldfogel from the University of Pennsylvania say that about $12 Billion of that which is spent at Christmas that someone doesn’t want or if it is a gift card, it gets forgotten about. That’s $12 Billion lost.

Think about what $12 Billion could do for all of those around us. It could help out our world community, our world family. However, we are blessed with a lot of wealth and goods on our continent that we can afford to have $12 Billion just get lost. It sure seems like Christmas shopping is very ineffective.

I challenge you to go speak to your grandparents, and also challenge your children to do the same, and ask them what Christmas was like for them. Most grandparents would mention the memories they had as a child. How they had next to no money at all, but the company and the fun they had together as a family is what made Christmas so wonderful for them. Or how there was some random act of kindness by an anonymous gift giver on their door step and this meant that they could have a gift to open in the morning, or a Christmas turkey to eat.

Some of the ways to create Christmas memories is by giving to those who are less fortunate. There are two ways to give; either knowingly, by directly helping someone or by donating anonymously to something like the Empty Stocking Fund.

Getting out of your comfort zone by volunteering usually creates more memories than something that is easy and comfortable. Go out and volunteer with your family at a soup kitchen, or help deliver Christmas hampers. Those acts, and many other acts of kindness will make the difference in someone else’s life. Creating a lasting memory not just for you, but for your children as well, leaving them with a Christmas memory that will not be forgotten.

Those are the gifts that don’t get placed on the shelves and lost in daily life.