Your child's at the age, now, when she understands that Christmas is coming, and that it's a very special day, so you're going out of your way to make sure you don't disappoint her. You've planned everything perfectly, because you want it to be a day the whole family will remember. But have you planned a way to make sure you remember the day?
Too often, as families grow and family traditions are followed, or new ones take hold, memories of individual Christmases blend into one another. You can't remember which years it snowed, or which year Aunt May knitted that blue sweater that came without a gift tag and fit no one in the famly. Each year that passes, you wind up lamenting that loss of memory perspective.
A friend, I hadn't seen in a long time, sent out DVD's last year as a Christmas card. I was excited, as I popped the disc into the machine-I hadn't seen their kids since they were little, and they were in high school, now. This DVD/card was a perfect and ingenious way to catch up.
My friend's family have a tradition, each year, of reading aloud the classic poem, “The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve. Their family gathers in the living room around the tree-always in the same place, with each family member in the same spot-taking turns reading. And each year, since the children were toddlers, they've recorded the reading on video.
The DVD/Christmas card they sent is a compilation of all their readings, throughout all the years, showing a line or two of the poem, from each year. And as the poem progresses, the children grow from toddlers to high-schoolers, finishing with St. Nick's call “…Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!". It's brilliant and wonderful, and now they have a permanent reminder of each year's Christmas celebrations-a record that they can share with their friends. Their intent is to continue the tradition of recording the reading of the poem, down through the generations of their family.
As your child grows, you plan for the future. You've taken care of your life insurance, you're contributing already to her college fund, you're even taking better care of your own health. But are you “planning" for the past, as well? Life goes by so quickly that it's easy to let those special times pass, without recording them.
Most families today have video cameras-it's easy to set one up and just let it record. Discs and tapes are small enough, today, that they can be stored easily until someone in the family has the time and inclination to compile the best parts into a collection. But video isn't the only format that can be used. Photographs can be just as powerful, in recording special moments, especially if-when they're printed or put on disk-they are labeled with the day and the year.
Christmas is such a busy time, that often, the thought of breaking out the camera or mini-cam is just one task too many. But think how much you'll enjoy looking back on these holidays, twenty years from now. And think how much fun your grandchildren will have, seeing their mommy “grow up". A few minutes’ effort can ensure a lifetime of wonderful memories.
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