Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Six Teens a-Texting – Making Memories

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?


  1. Linda love your simple message
    but first
    My true love sent to me
    Six teens a-texting they are texting how to use the
    Five sparkling Ipods Of course being as im still working out how to use the cell phone did you know it works better if you actually turn it on? I think i will stay clueless and slow as a dodo.
    I love the simple message. I think we do try to do so much for Christmas we forget the real meaning.
    Some of my favourite times were and still are making the christmas cookies to give to neighbours and friends and people who have been helpful to us in the past year.
    Mum use to cover small boxes with christmas paper to give away.
    This year I have used some older chocolate boxes (mum throws nothing out so im recycling) and a few Card boxes I have covered in christmas paper to put the cookies in. They are looking good and using recycled ribbon etc. (I found mums stash). I really am enjoying the 12 days of Christmas.

  2. I've always wanted a 'real' Christmas tree. My parents were never interested. Now that I think about it, I think we had a tiny living room. Then, when I got old enough to ask for one, we had cats - active cats. Now that I'm old enough to go get it myself, I have toddler - active toddler and cat - old, old, cat. My husband and I watched According to Jim last night. The theme was Christmas and how their kids got so much, they didn't even remember what they got, so Jim and his wife wrapped up last year's presents again, and the kids were fooled. Hmmm, it made me think how the message is pretty clear.

  3. Jenny, LOL. As a teacher of high school students, texting is such a big deal for them. Memories are so special at this time of year. We do usually pause long enough to think about past Christmases.

  4. Love reading about Christmas traditions of families. We bake lots of goodies and give to people. My girls love this and look forward to it.

    ABreding4fun [at]gmail [dot] com

  5. Linda, I can just see you all honking Jingle Bells!! So cute and fun!! I think I'll try it with my kids this year. They'll be so horribly embarrassed... or maybe not. :)

    Thanks for sharing your story of Christmas. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of driving around looking at Christmas lights and of going to the church candle light service (after going to eat at Pizza Hut!) every year.

    We always sit down with our kids for my husband to read The Night Before Chrismtas and the Nativity story. They moan and groan since they're getting so old now, but then they get into it and start reciting along with him.

    Fun, fun memories! (and all cell phones/texting will be off limits for that night!!)

    Missy :)

  6. Memories of Christmas are the best. When I was a child going to my grandparents house was the best thing about Christmas (not that I realized it as a child but I sure did when they were no longer around). I can remember when "Santa" brought only one present (all he could afford) and we got one from my parents (all they could afford) and we cherished them.

  7. Love, love, love these comments. Jenny, I adore how you make goodies for your friends and neighbors. And recycling is in the "in" thing! I'm doing it too.

    Abi, baking cookies with your girls to share is exactly the kind of memory they will treasure forever. Plus, it teaches them to be givers while making them feel so good inside to share.

  8. Margaret, I hear you about teens texting! I can't get my thumbs to move that fast and just don't have the patience for it. But the teens I know are addicted. Take away their cell phones and I think they'd fall onto the floor crying! LOL

  9. Pamela, we've always had cats around our tree which has made for some great "making memories" moments. Once, our Siamese decided to jump for the shiny star and pulled the tree over. She was sooo insulted and we though it was funny.

    Another cat liked to eat those shiny foil icicles. You can use your imagintion to know the hilarious result of that little habit.

  10. Ellen, me too! When I was a kid, going to Grandma's was the big deal. Even though we only lived seven miles away--which is nothing today--we only went there a few times a year. All the cousins and aunts and uncles descended from the far reaches of Oklahoma and we had the best, best time.

  11. Linda --
    I loved the way your family reminds each other you are making memories. Sometimes we get too busy and forget that.

  12. I agree the gifts are forgotten but the family time memories linger from year to year.
    When our boys were little until the youngest was almost out of high school we made a big day of going to the hills for our special tree. We packed munchies and hot chocolate to have after we "bagged" our treasure. That is what the boys always talk about when we get together and is probably the most fond memory for all year.
    I did text once, with instructions from someone who knows how, but never have tried it again. I was using their instrument, I don't think I can do it with mine. Fine by me, would rather just answer to a ring and get the talking done and go on with what I'm doing.
    Pam Williams
    cepjwms at yahoo dot com

  13. I enjoyed reading your lovely article! Merry Christmas!

  14. We always go to dinner and then go driving around to see free Christmas lights. We also always go to a Christmas Eve service where we have communion.
    Enter me in the great drawing for this month. spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net


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