I'm not a Grinch or a Scrooge. I like the holidays. I enjoy the decorations and the occasional gathering of family and friends. I'm not a fan of Black Friday sales, or the insanity that comes with shopping for the perfect gifts, but overall I welcome the holidays. Decorating the tree and stringing lights outside always triggers memories of Christmas past. Here's one that always jumps to mind.
When my sons were young, maybe seven and four, we had the usual pile of presents around the tree for them. But knowing that our efforts to cleverly wrap each package, using special Santa paper for those gifts from the jolly elf, wouldn't last more than five minutes once the guys got started. Soon a mountain of paper would cover the floor and the mad rush would be over. So we decided to prolong it with a little misdirection.
We took one special gift for each guy and hid it in the house. Then I drafted a series of clues, sending them on a treasure hunt. These were fairly simple, like 'where the clothes come out warm' for the dryer and 'better check the tub' or words to that effect. There were about six clues, leading them at long last to that special gift. To my surprise, the guys loved it. The treasure hunt became a Christmas tradition, right up there with the orange Danishes for breakfast after the presents were unwrapped.
One year when the boys were in their teens, I'd forgotten all about the treasure hunt. Travis, my eldest, approached me after church on Christmas Eve and asked if we were still doing it. When I told him we could, he turned and said "Can you make the clues rhyme?" I knew this was getting out of hand, but somehow muddled through. Dr. Seuss had nothing to worry about.
A few years ago, we gathered for Christmas. Travis was out of the country, so he called in on Skype and got the play by play as we opened our gifts. Then Cameron, his kid brother, handed my wife and I our first clue. The tables had been turned. The brothers had worked out a treasure hunt for us. After we wandered the house, gathering the extra present, Cameron looked at me and said "writing those clues was a pain in butt." I could relate.
I'm sure we each have our own special holiday memories. There are others, but that's one that always makes me smile.
May the holidays be filled with laughter and love, shared with friends and family.