On a recent December evening, Ken and I were having a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers before I started fixing dinner. We were enjoying the Christmas tree we'd just decorated and the other Christmas things we'd scattered around our home.
I mentioned to him that our tree, and all the ornaments on it, was filled with memories of the fifty years we've been married. He said he'd been thinking much the same. See what happens when you live together that long. You think alike! Happens to us often.
Many of the ornaments on our tree are ones we've purchased on trips we've taken. Each one brings back a memory of a place either near or far away. A few are ones that were gifts from friends and family and those bring us a mental picture and fond feelings. The ones our children had during their growing-up years are now on their own trees as I boxed them one year and gave each of our children their own ornaments. Those designer trees in the magazines look spectacular but there are no memories adorning the branches of those trees.
The many Christmas activities this month, or for those who celebrate Hanukkah, trigger memories of days gone by. It's when those memories come floating up to you that you should write a family memory story. I know, I know--who has time now? The thing is that it's when that memory comes back to you that the emotion is there and the story you write will show that. Think about it in February and you might have the facts but maybe not the same emotions.
Even so, here's a list of triggers that might bring Christmas memories back to you now or in February. Your choice.
1. What did you do in school to celebrate the holiday?
2. When did your family put up the Christmas tree?
3. Did you get lots of gifts or only a few or even just one?
4. Did your family do something for the less fortunate at Christmastime?
5. Did you make a visit to Santa in a local mall or department store?
6. Did your family go to a Christmas parade?
7. What traditional foods did your family have?
8. Did you hang stockings for Santa to fill? Fancy ones or your own socks?
9. What did Santa put in your stocking?
10. Did you perform in a Christmas program at school or church?
11. Did you make some of the gifts you gave?
12. Did you ever have a sad Christmas?
13. Did you have one very best Christmas gift ever?
14. Did your mother do a lot of baking during Christmas?
15. Did your family attend Christmas Eve services?
16. Did you have a tradition when picking out a Christmas tree?
Hopefully, these questions will help bring long-gone days back to you and a story or two will be written to add to your Family Memory book. Don't forget that Chicken Soup for the Soul is ready for submissions of Christmas stories. Check the website for information on the latest call. The Christmas book is the fourth one in the list. Read the guidelines before submitting.