A friend recently asked me what my favorite childhood Christmas gift was. To be honest, the only gifts I remember getting are the ones that were captured on home video and watched by me as an adult. I can remember making lists and desperately wanting things, but as far as what those things were, I have no idea. But, there are things that I can remember as clearly as if they happened yesterday...all of the holiday traditions from my childhood.
I grew up in a family of 5 kids. My father was "careful" with his money and we did not go out to eat often when I was young. So when we did, it was a big deal. Every year in December my parents would load the 5 of us into the minivan and we would go out to dinner and then drive around and look at the holiday lights. We did it once a December...without fail.
After dinner we would all beg our parents to take us to Friendly's for dessert...also a big treat for us. My father would always say no, that we could have dessert at home. We would all groan and beg him to take us. Then, just as he was approaching the street where Friendly's was, at the height of our begging, he would quickly put on his turn signal and make that left turn. The car would erupt in cheering and yelling and bouncing up and down.
It happened like that every year, and every year he made that left turn. I can remember cheering as if it was yesterday.
I recently read an article in the paper where a dad said that he would have to buy less presents for his kids this year and how he felt bad about that. You know what?.....they probably won't remember the "stuff" anyway, but be sure to make that left turn....that is something that they'll remember.