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Nostalgia, Christmas, and traditions

As I sat in the car before doing the weekly Friday night grocery shopping, I was listening to this review of books on NPR full of poetic imagery and beautiful narrative. The first few books in particular caught my ear for their use of language. They reminded me of my own childhood and some of the happiest memories that stick after 20 or 30 years.

This was ironically timed to a discussion Kelly and I were having about the small moments of child memory and how often the most pleasant remembrances are unintended. It was a larger chat about the holidays, gift giving, grand attempts at tradition and what is meaningful.

I doubt either of my sets of grandparents intended to make my favorite memories so simple. A trip to the lake in Grandpa's boat, for instance, would probably be a better candidate. But instead, I get all nostalgic about the smell of coffee, bacon & eggs, sleeping in the crack between my grandparents' pushed-together beds watching Underdog at about 6am. On the other side of the family, it was the noon news on the tv in the kitchen as I was given a sliced hotdog, ketchup and mustard for dunking on the side, chocolate milk through a twisty straw, and Pringles.

The point being that we don't control our kids. They're independent little beings who will remember what they remember. Appreciate what they appreciate. Our best intentions may be lost to time. We didn't make a Santa trip this year. Not because we are in this growing trend of being anti-Santa "cruelty & lies." They didn't ask. They're not old enough to ask. And until they are, it would mostly be for us. Which seems silly.

We're less, I think, about creating grand moments of holiday memory for our kids and more about living small moments of togetherness that, hopefully, they'll be thankful for one day.

It's funny how the older I get the less I remember what I got each Christmas. But the more I remember like it was yesterday the smell of my grandmother's particular cookie recipe. I'd really love a cookie...