As a kid, we all remember staying up late, waking up early, or not sleeping at all in anticipation of running downstairs to open presents on Christmas morning. My parents had a rule growing up that we couldn’t wake them up until 7:00 AM on Christmas morning. While the intent of this rule was for us to get some sleep, it actually caused my brothers and I to “camp out” in one of our bedrooms in anticipation of waking our parents up. The annual “camp out” tradition started with all three of us congregating in my bedroom thirty minutes before 7:00 AM. The following year we were all together an hour before we could wake our parents up. Before you know it, we all three were sleeping in the same bed for the whole night. The memories that I have with my brothers laying in bed late on Christmas Eve hypothesizing what we would get the next day or reading books on the floor at 4:00 AM to kill time are priceless to me.
As a child, I spent all night every Christmas Eve wondering what I would get the next day. The funny thing is, I could probably only name one or two gifts I received from my parents all those years. Instead, what I can remember is almost every single second I spent with my brothers in anticipation of that morning. Looking back, it is easy to see that the gift wasn’t what was coming the next morning, it was the time I got to spend with my brothers the night before.
We are so quick to latch onto phrases during this time of year like “it is better to give than to receive” that we lose sight of the fact that the holiday season isn’t even about giving. It is about shared time together! Every single memory that I have from the holiday season as a child centers around traditions and time together, not gifts that I received. Time is the most finite resource we have on this earth, which is often why it is the last thing that we think to give to others. In reality, it is the most precious gift you can give someone.
We are all guilty of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of this season, but this year be intentional about sharing your time. Start a new holiday tradition as a family. Give your spouse a weekend away instead of new clothes. Bake together as a family. Give your kids a family trip instead of a new PlayStation. Drive around as a family and look at Christmas lights. The beautiful thing is, it doesn’t matter what you decide to do, who it is with, or how much money you spend on it - what matters is that it is with the people you love. Once you realize that experiences and memories last exponentially longer in your heart than a physical gift, there is no turning back, I promise.
Read the original article published in West Knoxville Lifestyle by clicking here.
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