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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

You've got the right stuff, baby!

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Christmas season. It is fully upon us as is the rush and hustle and bustle of shoppers. I said to my niece on Black Friday that if police officers are spending their shifts at Wal- Mart we have failed as a society. It's all about the stuff even after we just realized how lucky and thankful we are.

Recently I read an article describing a new parenting trend(boy, I hate those) in which parents are now writing letters from Santa to their kids apologizing for not bringing the exact item the kid requested. This is to harbor any disappointment I assume. The stuff is just too important.

I will not be writing any letters from Santa.

A few days ago my husband and I spent Saturday apart. He played golf with his dad and the girls and I had a fun day out and about after being at home for 3 days during Thanksgiving break. When we met back up at the end of a long day my husband said to me, " I realized something about you today that I have never thought of before." I of course am now blushing because even at a golf outing my hubby still thinks about me. He continued, "Experiences mean so much to you, way more than they mean to me. That is what makes you happy." Lord, I love this man.
And he was right. I haven't thought about it all that much but with the holidays approaching I began to think of that more. I don't recall what I got for Christmas each year during my childhood. Not even the years there was one BIG must have item and somehow Santa was able to bring it for me. Not even then.

Here is what I do remember.
I remember the screen poach of our old house and when my mom would turn off all the lights except the ones on the Christmas tree and the room glowed. I remember when my dad would come home from work and say, "Who wants an ice cream?" And we piled into the car for Dairy Queen. I remember the smell of my grandmother's house and I can still taste her chicken and dumplings that she made just for me only because I requested it. I remember living in New Orleans and the sounds of music and the laughter of tourist that filled the air. I remember eating beignets and trying Café Du Monde coffee for the first time. I remember mardi gras parades and the taste of King cake. I remember playing baseball in the back yard of our new house in Tennessee and the first friends I made at Highland Rim Elementary. I remember finding weird bugs in the backyard. I remember when my mom would send cupcakes to school for my birthday and my dad would pick me up instead of having to ride the bus one day.

THAT is what I remember about my childhood. Those adventures that made childhood magical and warm. Those experiences that made me feel special and loved and valued. I don't remember the stuff.


And my kids won't recall the stuff either.

They will remember mom coming to their school to help with a party. They will remember their first flight and the car rides to Tennessee. They will remember the time we forgot bathing suites but went swimming anyway. They will remember mom reading to them and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. They will remember walks around the neighborhood and the sound of dad's laugh. Those are the things they will take with them into adulthood while the stuff fills my attic. Those are the things that will bring a smile to their face one day when they are driving to work reminiscing about being 6 again.

This year Santa is brining toys and candy, I am not completely bought out yet. But he is also bringing a zoo membership and other experiences that offer a chance to make the memories for my children that a 'must have' toy never will.


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