What is your single most favorite holiday experience of your childhood? Do you have it in your mind now?
Okay. Now. Think of these questions:
1. Who were you with?
2. What made it so special?
3. Did you receive any material possessions on this occasion? If so, do you remember what it was?
I have a lot of great childhood memories of holidays and whatnot. But most of my memories do not include material possessions I received. I have pretty much no remembrance of getting things other than the following:
- My Dad gave me a bike on Easter when I was 6.
- My Grandfather gave me a doll house he made when I was probably 7 or 8.
- My mother (Santa) gave me a keyboard one Christmas.
I know I got a lot more gifts when I was younger, but I don't really remember them. My favorite times in childhood didn't include gifts. One of my favorite holidays growing up was Memorial Day. We'd go to the parade and see people. Then after we'd have this big block party with all the neighbors. That was probably my favorite and most memorable holiday. I didn't get anything.
I used to love holidays where you get to see a bunch of people - whether I liked them or not. Memories of seeing extended family and friends are remembered - not the gifts I got seeing them. I remember 4th of July parties my dad would have and he and his friends would act all stupid. One time this really weird guy kept hitting on my mother. I think he was missing teeth and had the IQ of a 6 year-old. I thought (and still do) think that was hysterical.
Growing up I had a lot of great birthday parties - A craft one at my house where we made crap. A bowling party or two. I remember decorating my guinea pig's cage for parties. I remember getting potato chips and dip ready. However, I don't think I remember a single present I got from a friend. I'm sure I have some pictures of me opening gifts - but off the top of my head - I have no memory of the specific gifts I got from my friends.
So the point of all this babble is that we shouldn't stress over gifts given. Unless it really melts the heart-strings, it will most likely be forgotten. Time & experiences are more memorable than material possessions.