On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Six teens a-texting
Five sparkling Ipods
Four kissing frogs
Three chocolate bars
Two sparkling gems
And a flamingo in a tutu
When I first learned my topic (via my laptop), my granddaughter sat across the room, her thumbs moving ninety to nothing on her little red chocolate phone. Don’t ask me how a chocolate phone can be red. I’m as clueless about that as Lenora is about I-pods. At the same time that Lexi was texting her friends, my son sat beside me playing on his I-pod Touch. Now, that’s a snazzy little toy. Who knew you could go bowling on a five inch screen? The point is, electronics have taken us over!
Now, for the most part, this is a great thing. But for some of us this year, the latest cool electronic toy may be out of the budget. And you know what? Maybe it should be. Maybe this little economic tightening of the belt is good for us if we let it be. Before any of you start throwing rotten tomatoes at your computer screen, let me explain.
When I asked my kids to share what they got for Christmas for the last five years, they drew blanks. So did I. But when I asked them to share Christmas memories-the things they love and remember most about Christmas past, I knew I was on to something. It’s not about the presents. They break. They wear out. We forget them. What we don’t forget is the things we did together as a family that were special.
So this year, as the bad news on the TV reminds you of how much money you don’t have, stop worrying so much about buying and start doing. We have a phrase here at the Goodnight Ranch and Kid Farm when anything funny, sweet, or off-kilter occurs(which is often.) We look at each other and say, “Making Memories.” For indeed, it’s those things we cherish. It’s those things we will talk about and laugh about for years to come.
When our kids were small, we didn’t have much in the way of money, so we made memories. To this day when our kids can afford about anything they want, they still get together every Christmas to talk about those memories. Let me share one.
We could never afford a store bought Christmas tree, so we made a huge production of cutting our own cedar. Now folks, red cedar are not the prettiest tree. But we would pile the kids and the dog in the back of the old truck, bundled to their ears, cheeks as red as Christmas bows, and head for the woods. My husband Gene, an overgrown kid himself, would “play” Jingle Bells on the truck horn while the rest of us sang at the top of our lungs. We’d bounce and bump across the fields checking first one tree and then another until we found the right one. Then, the chosen son for that year would have the privilege of making the first whack with the ax. Once the tree was cut, we would carol and honk and laugh all the way home to popcorn and hot chocolate and an evening of decorating and Christmas carols.
Simple? Yes, very. But you know what? We love that memory, and I still put up a red cedar each year, not because I have to but because I want to. My boys still look forward to joking about Mom’s ugly Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, go on. Stop stressing and enjoy what makes Christmas special—the love of Jesus, the love of family. Make a memory this year. And if you’ve already made some, won’t you share one with me?