The Best Christmas Gift Ever and it doesn’t Cost a Dime!

It’s Not About the GIFT

My husband and I were talking over dinner tonight about our holiday plans. Part of what drew us to one another is our common value of family and it is important that we integrate our families together as a new couple over the holiday season. I asked my husband what his favorite memory is as a child during the holidays.  This is part of him that I do not know because we are new together as a couple and I don’t have a holiday-time shared history with him. He started to fondly recall going to his maternal grandparents’ home, which was small, but filled with his aunts and uncles, cousins, and siblings.  His grandfather prepared the ham, and apparently this was the start of a tradition for the love of ham in his family.  He recalled feeling happy and loved and that life seemed simple, with no worries.

As he was sharing his memories with me, I began to reminisce about my own childhood holiday experiences, very similar to those of his.  My family also visited my maternal grandmother’s very modest home, filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, great food, and gifts.  I don’t recall what gifts I received but I do remember Grandma’s fresh apple pie, made with apples straight from her front yard.  I recollect watching the door as each family member entered and joining my cousins to run around and explore.  As a young child I believed that this is how the holidays would always be.  I thought we would always come to Grandma’s on Christmas, her tree would always look a little shabby and worn, and we would always have her homemade apple pie for dessert.  It seemed very consistent and reliable to me.  My young mind did not comprehend the future of all our lives and the changes that we would endure and experience as we aged.  Looking back on Christmases and holidays, I determined that we take all of this for granted while we are young.  We don’t realize and understand that things will change and I fear that as time goes on, memories fade.

During our discussion, I realized what I most desire for Christmas– shared memories.  I would love to hear from my loved ones the memories that they hold from their youth.  What memory do you hold on to year after year when the holiday season comes around?  My siblings are 13 and 15 years older than me, so I don’t have memory of sitting around a tree with my brother and sister and our parents on Christmas morning.  I remember Christmases, just not as far back as when they were still at home.  I wonder if they remember being around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning with me?  Maybe they can share it with me.  I understand that we each hold memory differently and it would be a gift for them to share with me their reflections and stories as they recall them.

While making preparations for our holiday, my husband and I are laying the groundwork for the memories that we are building together.  The environment, the meals, the traditions, the presence of others, and this shared time and experience is our gift on holidays.  I hope one day that I am the grandma that little ones treasure visiting on holidays as we are all bustling about, talking, making preparations, and giving lots of love.  Sadly, I can’t make apple pie like my grandmother did so maybe it’s my pecan pie that will be remembered, or my oyster dressing (love it or hate it), or the big hug I give when you come into the room.

You might notice in all of this recollection that there is nothing about religion, there is nothing about packages, and there is nothing about…Santa.  It’s not the gifts I opened under the tree that I hold dear. The most special part of the holidays, and what has created lasting memories for me, is the time spent with loved ones and the experiences that we share together.

Would you share a holiday memory from your childhood with me? Would you care to build a memory with me or someone you love this holiday season?  To me, this is the greatest gift that I could give or receive!


This holiday season, take time to create a memory, take in the experiences, and share a memory with someone.


  1. Great post! Great message! Captured the true meaning of the season in my opinion.

  2. Anna thanks for sharing this. I didn’t realize the age difference w your siblings. We have that in common only I’m the older. I still can’t remember much about Christmas before I was in high school. So weird. I’m feeling a little robbed of childhood Christmas memories. But the ones I’ve made with my children are wonderful. I too am looking forward to the future generation and memories with them. They’ll probably remember me for making them coffee tho! Haha Merry Christmas ! cK

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