Decades ago, celebrating Christmas was different in many ways. In a time when there were no computers, long distance transportation was not as accessible or affordable, and few people had phones or televisions, folks made Christmas special by making their own entertainment and family storytelling was a big part of it. Children sat wide eyed at the feet of grandparents as they listened to stories from the past.
Today’s parents and grandparents have their own special memories of a Christmas long ago and the holiday season is the perfect time to share them. Gather the whole family around the fireplace, pop some popcorn, make some egg nog and share Christmases past.
Recount the times when families didn’t have so many elaborate lights and decorations covering the entire house and lawn but enjoyed making popcorn garland and homemade wreaths, angels, and snowflakes. Reminisce aloud about going with Grandpa into the pasture to cut a Christmas tree. Share the times when Santa wasn’t on every corner but children spent hours carefully crafting letters that they mailed, with pride, to the North Pole. Share the times when bakery goods were not always affordable but many happy memories were made in the kitchen with Grandma baking fruitcake, cookies, and sweet breads. Tell of the time Grandma made doll clothes from material scraps for the granddaughters and Grandpa created wooden stick horses for the grandsons. Recount the joy of opening those homemade gifts on Christmas morning, even though they were not costly or elaborate.
Family stories are an economically effective and environmentally friendly way to connect the generations. Children learn that it’s not things you get or places you go that makes Christmas memories, but the love of a family. They feel a sense of belonging, of stability, security, and self sufficiency through family stories.
Amidst the materialism and commercialism of today, keep the true spirit of Christmas alive. Christmas is not expensive gifts and fancy foods but love, laughter, and family. As multiple generations gather under one roof to celebrate Christmas this year, take the opportunity to make more happy memories by sharing Christmases past.