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Building Bigger Memories . . . Not Bigger Barns

My Friend Debbie_Nutcracker

     Christmas 1975 . . . It was a beautiful, crisp winter evening with snow lightly dusting the parking lot as I waltzed into the lobby of Cincinnati's historic Music Hall to experience my first ballet production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. My heart pounded with every downbeat of the overture as I sank into the red velvet seat, adorned in my homemade Christmas gifts-a long black crushed velvet skirt with a matching winter cape and mitt for my thawing fingers. The sights, smells, and feelings of that evening with my family in December are indelibly etched in my memory to this day.

My Friend Debbie_Nutcracker     I do not remember any Christmas "presents" that year. Rather than overwhelming me with a plethora of presents around the tree, my parents instead chose to open my mind and spirit to a world I have enjoyed throughout my life-a world of beauty, creativity, and expression through the arts.

     Raising a family in a small home with very little storage space (under the beds only!), limited closet space, and no basement propelled my mother to exercise great creativity with a growing family. My mother had a rubber storage bin for everything! It was pure entertainment just watching her carefully utilize every inch of our home to store the things we would not need for a particular season and only leave out what was needed for "that" season. If we didn't have room for it in our home, "it" would not have a home in our house!

My Friend Debbie_Attic     Christmas is the season for giving, and not one of us is immune to the temptation to give so much that we are not only financially strapped in January but also left with the headache of negotiating where to put all of our new treasures. This results in building "bigger barns" to hold all that we think we must have or cannot get rid of. (As I write this article while traveling home from our vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I chuckle at the Batesville Casket Company truck that just drove by us, and I am reminded that we "cannot take it all with us" . . . sorry King Tut!)

My Friend Debbie_Attic     Then [Jesus] spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Luke 12:16-21 (NKJV)

     Dear friends, do not be like the fool in this parable. If you must build bigger barns to store your "stuff," then you have too much "stuff!" Remember, what you own, owns you. Most of us will not build barns in our back yards to hold our extra things, but we will find ourselves renting one or more storage units, spending hard-earned money just to store the things we don't use!

My Friend Debbie_Attic     Consider the value of building bigger memories this Christmas. The gift of a treasured memory with your family will last years longer than that must-have, battery-operated, mind-numbing beeping toy that will be broken by Easter!

     Every city in this beautiful country of ours offers many wonderful holiday events that old and young alike love this time of year. Christmas is all about traditions, and most of us never tire of singing "Silent Night" in a dark sanctuary lit only by hand-held candles on Christmas Eve.

     Here are some other ideas:

  • Grand illumination ceremonies
  • Light displays
  • Christmas concerts
  • Holiday stories at the local library
  • Watching It's a Wonderful Life and/or "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" while drinking hot cocoa with your children.
  • Filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child
  • Taking your family to sing Christmas carols at a nursing home (This is our Shedd family favorite!)
  • Making Christmas treats together for your neighbors
  • Reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning
  • Fixing a traditional Christmas breakfast that your children can always anticipate
  • Watching a live Nativity scene
  • Lighting an Advent wreath

     So, go ahead and throw away those barn blueprints! Remember, making a memory may not cost much, but its lasting value is priceless!

My Friend Debbie_Nutcracker

Copyright © 2008-2015 Alyson Shedd

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