We are in the midst of holiday season. Last month we celebrated Thanksgiving in the US. Hanukah was this week. Christmas is next week.
These are all events that trigger memories – sometimes happy, sometimes not. But it is the rare person who doesn’t have memories associated with this time of year.
As children we were always allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. For some reason it was always a new nightgown or pair of pajamas. It was years later that it sunk in that the reason this was the Christmas Eve gift was because my grandfather or father would have the camera close at hand Christmas morning.
We couldn’t go downstairs until everyone was up, the tree lights were lit, and the coffee was ready for the adults. So we always had stockings (hung by our beds instead of the fireplace) that were well filled with small gifts as well as candy and a big navel orange to keep us occupied. I can still smell the oil from those oranges.
Once downstairs one person became Santa’s helper and passed out all the presents. Each person then opened their gifts one at a time so everyone saw all of the gifts and had the opportunity to ooh and ah over them. We had fresh sticky buns and orange juice (or coffee) while watching. Breakfast came later in the day.
In my husband’s family, the opening to the living room could be closed off with a sheet. They would get up, eat breakfast, and wash and put away all the dishes before going in for the tree.
They did have one person pass out the gifts, but then everyone started opening packages at the same time. For them it was part of the fun. For me it felt like something was missing since there wasn’t the opportunity to see the reactions of others as they opened the gifts I had made or selected for them.
When we lived close enough to Kansas City to go home for Christmas, our kids got to experience both versions of celebrating. After we moved to upstate New York, we developed our own traditions that primarily followed mine as a child.
Reflecting on these memories gives me stories that can be used to illustrate aspects of giving and receiving such as the joy that comes from watching someone else open and appreciate the gifts they are given.
Your memories from the holidays and other parts of your life, personal and business, can be a source of material for you as you create your book.