If Black Friday has taught us anything about the human race it’s that we’ll fight to the death over that last $9.99 toaster oven at Walmart.
Okay, so you probably avoid the chaos that surrounds the Friday after a day of giving thanks for the blessings you already have. But the days between Thanksgiving and December 24 are still likely filled with shopping for the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list.
I’m a generous guy. I love giving gifts. I love receiving gifts. There’s something about a living room filled with stacks on stacks on stacks of wrapping paper that just screams CHRISTMAS!
But in my 3 decades on this earth I can’t really recall any of the gifts I received at Christmas time growing up.
You know what I do remember?
I remember my dad putting boot prints in the ashes of the fireplace on the year I had stopped believing in Santa Claus so that the next morning I woke up to believe for one more year.
I remember my first Christmas Eve service in “Big Church.” I was handed a candle and the stupid little paper guard didn’t work, so hot wax spilled on my hand and I cried while my mother held and comforted me.
I remember driving through the neighborhoods in the rich part of town looking at all of the Christmas lights on houses.
I remember the string quartet playing music before Christmas Eve service and what seemed like a 300 member choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus.
I remember having family and friends over to our house on Christmas Eve and eating a dinner made up of queso, sausage balls, little smokies, and the silly veggie tray mom always insisted on serving even though no one ever ate off of it.
I remember pull-apart cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas Morning and Ham for Christmas Dinner.
I remember sneaking out of bed in the early Christmas Morning hours to see if Santa had come yet, and then running into my sisters room to see if she was awake too.
I remember the first time dad let me help put the Christmas lights on the roof. I remember the home-made light up star we put up each year that could be seen from over a mile away on the highway.
I remember helping set-up our massive Dicken’s Village Collection. I remember picking out a Christmas Tree and needing to give our real Christmas tree water before we finally got a fake tree.
I remember shaking presents weeks before Christmas day. I remember sorting presents under the tree by whose name was on them. I remember counting presents to make sure my little sister never got more than me. I remember putting in place the rule that we open presents one at a time, in order from youngest to oldest and each time we came back around my grandma would forget it was her turn.
I remember all of this, but I have a difficult time recalling any gift I’ve received at Christmas.
The experiences, the events, the time with family, the annual traditions… that’s what makes this the most wonderful time of the year. It’s these things that get put on our annual Christmas List.
As you go through the next few weeks in a panic about buying that perfect Christmas gift for each person on your Christmas list, know that 5 years from now they won’t remember what they received but they’ll absolutely remember the experiences you share.