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Triggering Memories of Christmas Past

The day after Thanksgiving is a big day in our household!

It’s not because we make a pact never to eat that much again (although we probably should).

Nor is it because it’s National Leftovers Day (is that a thing? If not, it should be).

Nope. It's because we decorate the inside and outside of our house for Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of Christmas for our household. Boxes and boxes of ornaments, lights, stockings, and chachkies come pouring out of the garage and eventually find their way onto the tree and throughout the house.

Decorating in one day is certainly a lot of work but it’s magical none-the-less. It’s a walk down memory lane, through many Christmas's past. The picture of the Santa and the mouse ornaments included in this post are an ever-present part of my Christmas memories. Perhaps you have a similar ornament that you look forward to pulling out of the box each year.

Since my earliest Christmas memory, Santa and the mice have been there. Several years ago, my mom transferred them to me when she was downsizing her Christmas cache. Those ornaments conjure up Christmas in a unique way. It’s the Christmas of my youth. When I see them, I see the house I grew up in, I see our tree, and I’m flooded with dear memories. Do you have a tradition or an ornament that does this for you? Is there one holiday activity that transports you back to being a kid again?

One of my client’s shared a wonderful holiday memory with me while we were recording his stories. It was about the cookies his mom made. His mom made the best cookies. Even though he is in his eighties, when he started talking about those cookies, you could see joy spread all over his face. He described them so visibly that I felt like I could practically smell them as he talked. I could see the crowded kitchen he described, his demure mother tending to cookies in the oven, and his siblings running by trying to snatch the newly baked ones. It was so vivid, even to me.

What are those memories for you? What are the ones you still see clearly? The memories that take you right back to your youth? Savor those delicious stories and consider what memories you are currently making with your own children or grandchildren. What will they remember well into their eighties?

Every day is a gift and has the potential to hold a lifelong memory. Christmas is a season that seems particularly well suited for memory making, enjoy every bit of it.

Here’s to making many joyous memories this holiday season.