Creating Family Memories

December 18, 2014

Christmas is almost here! Is there as much excitement in your home as there is in mine?
Yes, the kids are excited, but I’ll be honest, I’m probably just as excited as them. It is one of the best times of the year. And as the holiday draws closer, I want to encourage you to take some time and make some real Christmas memories.

December is one of those months that fills up before it even starts. We have parties, banquets, work events, shopping, plays, musicals, festivals — we fill our schedule to the max trying to create the perfect holiday, but with Christmas right around the corner, we need to make sure we are creating real memories. Memories that our families will look back on and enjoy that do not simply revolve around a busy month.

How can we effectively create lasting, memorable moments then? Here are some tips I am trying to implement in my own life and hopefully you will find them helpful, as well.

Make Memories At Home

memories cookies

I will start with this: I adore holiday activities.

I look forward to them, seek them out, and then try to fit them on the schedule. And while some events are actually fun, a lot of city and local events turnout to be slightly less than fun. The parking is impossible, lines are long, crowds are out of control and we spend hours of our time trying to snap one fun picture of the family so we can say we went and participated in the community event. But looking back at those days, I ask myself, “did we spent more time complaining about the inconvenience than we did talking about the season? Was it really quality time with the family?” Maybe as my kids get older we will enjoy those events more, but for now, finding time to drive around neighborhoods to see lights, decorating cookies at home, and making ornaments for the tree are more meaningful. Those are the memories that will make us smile, more than trying to fit a stroller through relentless crowds.

Find Time to be with Your Family

memories baby

Every-other year we travel to see family for Christmas and we have a wonderful time. However, my favorite Christmas morning memories consist of waking up in my own home and seeing our tree filled with presents. I want my kids to remember waking up in their rooms, going to the tree they spent all month looking at, and opening presents, just the four of us. So how do we do that and spend time with extended family too? On years that we do visit extended family, we have Christmas morning as a family and then we do Christmas lunch and presents with the rest of the family (aunts, uncles, grandparents). On years we are not in town for Christmas, we set aside a Saturday in December to celebrate that time together. It’s not about the date on the calendar as it is about that time spent with family. It is easy to miss so much while with a huge crowd, so find time to have a few personal moments with the family you live with: they will notice and appreciate it.

Put the Camera Down

As a photographer who loves capturing every moment with my camera, this is hard advice for me! But here’s the issue — when you’re behind the camera you actually miss so much personal, real-time interaction! Sure, you have cute pictures of every minute of the holiday, but looking through the pictures you snapped of others opening presents, of others having a conversation, of others enjoying each other, where are you? Stuck behind the camera. Last year I took pictures of our Christmas and there is not one single picture of me with my boys opening their presents. Which means I didn’t help them open packages and I didn’t truly enjoy the moment.

My goal this year is take one or two pictures of the kids Christmas morning, take a couple of the presents I know they will be excited to open, hand the camera to the husband to get one of me with the boys and then put the camera down and be in the moment. So I won’t have 200 pictures at the end of the day, but I will have real memories. My kids will have actual memories of me being a part of the day.

Memories are vital and we want them to be precious and filled with family and friends. Find that time with them create wonderful memories, not just a crowded calendar.

Find time to be intentional about how you create your family’s holiday memories and remember that you are an integral part of those moments!