As I type this out I’m watching the snow fall in downtown Vancouver, with 20 centimetres expected to fall in a city that doesn’t often receive snow. Across the street is a boot store with window-painted drawings of a snowman, a wreath, and a scrawling of Seasons Greetings. Christmas songs are on the radio – one of those 24/7 Christmas song stations for the entire month of December. And just now a bus drove by, and on the side was a Christmas ad. It’s pretty hard to not feel festive.
This will be another memorable Christmas, and it comes without us having to buy massive amounts of “stuff”. Creating Christmas memories isn’t hard. In fact, it’s pretty easy, and it’s even easier when you don’t concentrate on buying a bunch of stuff.
Last year at this time we were in Panama, and our memory of that Christmas was our dinner. We bought a Christmas Hacken. Or was it a Christmas Cham. We didn’t know if it was Chicken or Ham…and neither did the store.
The year before we were also in Panama. That Christmas we had just moved into our new Panamanian style home. The walls were sparse, so Shelly contacted our friend who painted art on clay roof tiles. And this $10 piece of artwork donned our bedroom wall.
Hanging it wasn’t easy though, as we had no drill. But we had befriended “Papa Surf” down the street, a Canadian expat who takes local kids to the beach to surf and body-board. He had a drill, so he came over and bore a hole in our wall, where our turtle tile hung until it was time to trek on. That tile now resides at Papa Surf’s. The memory isn’t in the tile, it’s in the friendships we formed. Although ironically, Papa Surf and his wife did have an epic way of getting rid of stuff befitting for this time of year.
When thinking back to my childhood, I can’t think of many gifts that stood out as “oh man, that’s so awesome when I got that gift when I was X years old – it changed my life…”. My childhood Christmas memories usually involved my toys being broken somehow by my older brother. Lego was a big part of my childhood, so I’m sure I received many a lego-set. But see, I can’t recall one in particular. Actually, that’s a lie. I got this electronic hockey game once, only it didn’t come with batteries. So our family walked, together, to the convenience store to get me some batteries so I could play my game. Again, the memory not in the material item, the memory was more of my family doing something to make me happy – walking through the snow to the store to get some batteries not included.
What I’ve always enjoyed about Christmas, and what truly creates great Christmas memories, is getting together with family and enjoying time together.
And this year will be no different.
The coast is a funny place. Nobody is actually FROM Vancouver. Okay, some people actually are, but many are transplants from elsewhere in Canada, or from another country altogether.
So BC-migrant rant aside, what Christmas memories will we be creating this year? We’ll be joining a friend from back in Ontario, a couple from Montreal and their daughter, and some other dude. Don’t know who he is, never met the Montreal daughter, but these points don’t matter. We’ll be creating another amazing memory for us, and hopefully five other people will have fond Christmas memories of our Grouse Mountain Christmas dinner together with our other Canadian family members — family members we just haven’t met yet.
Don’t let your Christmas memories be about stuff. Let them be about friends, family, and amazing experiences!
Now go sell all your stuff and create some stuff-less Christmas memories.