I have decided to take a short break from my recent retirement blog entries. As the holidays approach, I have been reflecting on memories of Christmas’ past. While I don’t appreciate most things about getting older, I treasure collecting memories.

When I was a teenager, my first girlfriend told me we would always have our memories of time together. At the time, I did not understand what she meant. Now many years later, I totally get it. People and places come and go in our life, but as long as we have our cognitive ability, memories last a lifetime.

There are many reasons to enjoy the holidays. The significance of Christmas consists of time with family and friends, and yes, giving and receiving gifts. My brightest memories of the holidays involve people and places. I remember the times with relatives who have passed on like my father and grandparents. My grandmother cut down her own Christmas tree. The tree was always a rather scrawny cedar tree. We decorated it with popcorn strings. I recall a time in school when I was asked to draw a Christmas tree. I drew my grandmother’s cedar tree instead of a traditional tree. My teacher spent a lot of time showing me how to draw a proper tree.

Jimmy Jet

My absolute favorite gift I received as a child was a Jimmy Jet. By today’s standards, this toy is primitive. For me, at the time, it changed my life. I could fly my own jet! I wish I knew what happened to this thing; they are worth $325 on eBay.

Like most kids of the time, I received my own bicycle for Christmas. It was a gold-colored Western Flyer complete with a headlight. I always had trouble sleeping on Christmas eve, the time I received this bike was particularly difficult. This excitement led to one of the dark secrets of my life. I went into the living room in the middle of the night. After confirming the arrival of my bicycle, I decided to take it for a spin. After all, it had a headlight. I opened the front door and proceeded to ride around the neighborhood. I returned the bike, and my parents never knew about my midnight ride. Several years later, I mentioned to my daughter about my Christmas excursion on my new bicycle. She proceeds to tell my mother. After 30 years, my secret was out. Despite getting caught, it was worth it.

Christmas time and young children go together. The holiday times when my children were young were truly special. One time my daughter received two white rabbits as a gift. While she was cute cuddling with these bunnies, I soon discovered it is better to rent rabbits than to own them. The cuteness quickly wore off, and I sold the rabbits. My daughter recently found out the people who bought the bunnies probably ate them. What a memory!

As Christmas approaches, the sights and sounds can be overwhelming. The material aspect of the holidays is a mixed blessing. Treasured memories are a guaranteed winner.

Spend precious time with family and friends. Create those special memories and file them away for a lifetime. Recalling these special times will deliver joy and happiness anytime, anyplace.

Make the most of this day!