The holiday season is filled with memories. Those I cherish most are memories of Christmas Eve. That was the time our family gathered in a culminating expression of the spirit of the season. We read the first Christmas story in Luke, made delicious sweets, and bundled up to go caroling to widows in our neighborhood. My oldest brother played the guitar and sang the lead while the rest of us added the harmonies.
Those widows have all passed away now. But their funerals gave us one more chance to sing—a cappella this time. (My brother had already passed on.) We learned then, that those Christmas Eve carols were among the highlights of the season for those we visited. And the memories linger with each of us.
It’s a feeling we want to share with our kids. Our last caroling evening was an adventure. By the time my siblings and I got into the home with all of our kids, we were pretty crowded. We’ll have to break off into groups next time.
Memories and traditions are what matters most at this time of year, and documenting those memories is incredibly important. My sister-in-law keeps a photo book just for Christmas photos. It’s really fun to look through it and watch the family grow and change from year to year.
Writing memories is important too. My mother has a library of journals she’s kept over the years, and she’s written stories from her childhood and shared them with us since we were little. One story about her first Christmas Eve after her daddy died is very poignant and special to us. We read it every Christmas Eve. It’s a story we’ll share with our kids when they’re old enough.
And then there’s the time we spend just talking, playing games, and laughing around the fireplace. It makes me wonder why we don’t take more time throughout the year to do some of these same things. After all, time with those we love is so rare these days, and it won’t last—because every today changes our tomorrows.
Each of us have our own ways of storing memories. My mother-in-law recently gave my daughter a recipe book loaded with ancient family recipes. And my mother gave her a binder filled with her own stories, memories, and special thoughts.
This year, let’s set aside the distractions and focus on what matters most—time for conversation, laughter, and lessons in the kitchen. And let’s make sure we remember these moments for years to come.