"Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go..." And that's pretty much all of that tune I can remember. Even though it's not a Christmas tune, it still conjures up feelings about the holidays. For those of you who grew up in a snowy winter locale, you're probably thinking of blankets of snow and bundling up to travel. There are many, many memories associated with the holidays. It's why I like to ask questions about Christmas or other holiday memories when I record storytellers.
Sam, one of my earliest clients, has a story of holiday travel that really stood out to him. You can hear him telling this holiday experience by clicking through to the "Examples" page of the Remembered Well website. Every year, his family would head to the grandparents after they'd opened gifts at their house. He describes a game he and his sister used to play in route. Back in those days, you had to be creative to keep yourself entertained. There were no cell phones or in-car entertainment systems. After listening to Sam, I bet you'll be recalling some of the travel games you and your siblings used to play.
Many years ago when I was first married, a co-worker shared a special tradition she'd done with her family a few times. Simply put, they sat for a Christmas photo and used that as their card to send to family and friends. This is pretty commonplace now but it wasn't 40 years ago or even 20 years ago. She mentioned how she wished she'd kept up the tradition and done it every year. Looking back, she really appreciated the snapshots in time that each picture represented. This sounded like a pretty neat idea to me so it became a part of my family's holiday tradition. Every year we do some sort of goofy photo. The first year was just Bob and me but then you see the addition of one dog, a couple of cats, and kids. These photos are a wonderful time capsule of our experience and I treasure them immensely. One of my favorites is included below.
In the hustle and bustle of the season, set aside a few moments and think of the holiday traditions you most treasure. Did your family cut down a tree? Did you open gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Was Santa a part of your traditions? Did you travel to your grandparents house? Whatever precious memories you hold, they are unique to you but have probably influenced how you now celebrate the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy Memory Making to everyone!