The radio stations are playing Christmas carols, the ABC Family Channel has put out their list of specials for the “25 Days of Christmas”, every retail store is decorated to the rafters and I say…….BRING IT ON! I love the holidays. Of course there is always that Ebenezer in the crowd who barks about how early they start the carols, and huff and puff about the tinsel but I’m not one of those folks. I love everything about the holidays….the smells, the sounds, the sights, the food, the spirit of giving. I’ll take it all.
I believe life is about experiences, the kind of experiences that memories are made of. Ask almost anyone and they will more than likely have a Christmas experience that holds a special place in their heart. Our eyes light up, our hearts beat faster and we step back into a sweet place of magic when we think of our favorite holiday memories.
When I was a child my mother used to decorate our tree with ivory snow detergent. Believe it or not if you whip that stuff up in a mixer it makes a gooey mixture that can be put onto your tree and when it dries it looks just like real snow! Oh my goodness the smell is divine. So as you can imagine whenever I smell Ivory Snow detergent – BOOM it’s Christmas. That’s the magic. It’s as simple as a smell or a sound and you go back in time.
We all have those magical triggers. For my own children I think it’s probably my Christmas village. It just wasn’t the holidays until the village was in its proper place. I knew this was part of my daughter’s Christmas treasure chest when I saw her explaining in great detail which figure was Tiny Tim and which one was Scrooge to her fiancé. Long after the X-box is obsolete, we’ve outgrown the lacrosse gear and the Little Tikes plastics are sold at the yard sale it will be the wonder of the season that will remain.
Over the years whether spending time with my own family or in my professional life working with seniors, I’ve found that the traditions and memories we treasure find their roots in where we “come from.” I can’t think of a better reason to find special and specific ways to include the seniors we love in our celebrations throughout the holidays.
I remember reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve and assigning each family member –my husband and me, my children, and most specifically my own parents each a passage to read as we lit the candles on the Advent wreath. The joy that was created just hearing the different voices reading the story of Christ’s birth was astounding. My children still remember the words of their Grandfather as he read the last few verses of the Christmas story. Luke 2:15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” Just reading together as a family was such a simple thing to do but a memory that I will hold my whole lifetime.
So what is your treasure chest filled with? Is it Grandma’s special Christmas cake recipe, a stocking you’ve had since childhood, lighting of the Advent wreath, or Christmas Eve service at midnight? Ask yourself, “How can I include the seniors in my life in a specific and meaningful way?” After all the holidays aren’t just for children but for everyone. Honoring your senior loved ones and including them will enrich your life for years to come.
The good news is that holiday “magic” is there for the asking. Contrary to what the circulars may say it isn’t “on sale” at Kohl’s. (no offense Kohl’s) The Christmas story- the birth of our Savior- IS the magic. What could be more mystical and magical than that? How we share the GOOD NEWS with one another is where memories are made.
So this holiday season I encourage you to take this GOOD NEWS and translate it into the magic of the season. Treat your special food, decorating, carol singing, visits with friends, holiday movies, shopping trips, faith based rituals, and family traditions as the true Christmas gifts of the season. Think of ways that you can enhance your traditions and make them even more meaningful by including that special senior in your life. Deck the Halls – it’s the holidays! Make them the merriest yet and decorate your heart with memories. (after all memories can last a lifetime and they aren’t even fattening)