When I was in third grade, I was invited to Nancy Houston’s home to help her family decorate the Christmas tree. This was a big deal because my family was Jewish. Although I had seen a gazillion brightly festooned Christmas trees in New Jersey, the shopping center mall capital of the Northeastern United States, my family did not observe this holiday. However, when Nancy’s mother called my Mom to ask her if I could come over to bake cookies and decorate the tree, Mom said yes.
It was fun to string popcorn and hang ornaments. It was more fun to eat the warm cookies when they came out of the oven. I asked Nancy what other things they did to celebrate the holiday and she told me about Christmas eve and Christmas morning. While many of the rituals were different from how my family celebrated the eight nights of Chanukah, there were many similarities such as decorating the house with festive signs and mementos, singing songs, baking holiday themed cookies and, most of all, spending time together.
Scientific studies show that shared experiences create strong memories which can be more meaningful and memorable than receiving the latest toys or expensive gifts. This phenomenon is because of something called the hedonic treadmill effect where the allure of the new items wears off over time while the memories of special shared experiences can be savored over many years.
May your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be filled with wonder and delight.
I’m sending you strength and love.
Soaringwords is the power to heal.