November 14, 2018
What really are the best gifts for the holidays? Like everyone else, I have received various types of gifts through the years; but the question is, “what are the ones that have stood out to me the most?” Throughout the holidays, my family traditions are honestly the only things that I remember most. What traditions do I have with my family? For me, first and foremost we did matching pajamas and we also exchanged ornaments. So when I say ornaments, what do I really mean? Well in my family, ornaments are based on experiences or milestones that occurred over that year. The ornament could be based on a trip, an accomplishment, or sometimes it can also relate to a loss of a family member. The events that happen year after year do fade in our own memories; moreover, having these ornaments each year reminds us of highlights and amazing people (or pets) of our past, making setting up the Christmas tree even more meaningful. I am always reminded of how blessed and thankful I am, so this tradition fills my heart and keeps me very humble.
Another great memory I have around the holidays involves driving around to local areas and seeing lights and decorations that others have. These are great (free) times to spend with my family and also always allowed me to see beautiful lights. I lived close to my grandparents while I grew up, so they always joined us. Their inclusion made it even more fun. These types of traditions have actually changed the way I buy gifts for others as an adult. The creative side of me always wants to provide meaningful gifts for others because of my traditional holiday experience growing up. I learned gifts that come from the heart are the ones you remember the most. In order for you to understand how I’ve come to be who I am and appreciate my perspective of the holidays, I have a couple examples of what I mean.
When I was little I would get ornaments like a ballerina for my first year taking dance, or a softball type ornament when I attempted to play softball (which always makes me laugh). When I became an adult, some ornaments became more serious. For example, the year that my grandfather passed away I had an ornament made for my family members with one of my favorite phrases that he ALWAYS said: “bless your pea pickin heart” (yes I know this can be seen as a negative southern phrase but his intent was not negative). This ornament specifically allows all of us to remember his amazing life each year. The year that my grandmother passed away, I focused on one of the best things about her: the way she expressed love toward others. She was a woman who shared true love to people and spread love in her community. I decided to take her signature, which she would write in my cards: -Love, grandmommie. I also took her handwriting where she wrote love and converted her script into necklaces for my family. So….I challenge you all to think a little deeper in buying gifts because, in the end, the stuff you have is not what we remember. Instead, we remember traditions, human connection, and meaningful experiences.
I would really love to hear some of the best gifts you’ve ever give or received, and WHY it’s so meaningful to you. Happy holidays to everyone and happy gifting!