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Dec 21

Holidays and Memories

The holiday season is upon us and shops are bustling. And whatever tradition you celebrate, whether it is Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, or another, if you are like me, you’re likely spending more money than you should!

We all love prosperity, work hard for it, and most of us enjoy buying and exchanging gifts. Yet apparently we also have some conflicts about it. We may find this lavish spending and materialism somewhat offensive, or at least objectionable.

One research study revealed that the commercialization of Christmas bothers more than half of all Americans “some” or “a lot.”

It’s interesting to learn that another study found that people are better able to remember experiences than purchases, and that the memories of happy experiences bring more pleasure, and stay with us much longer, than memories of things.

Although such gifts as a new TV or piece of clothing may seem more real and concrete than experiences, which don’t have a material substance, when we look back it’s the good times we had with friends and loved ones that are the most meaningful and remain in our minds through the years.

So this holiday season, while we enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts, we might also want to pause and remember to enjoy the small but important moments of connection and communication, of loving interactions and shared experiences. In this way we can create memories to carry with us far into the future.

“Giving yourself plenty of time is a simple but vital reflective exercise: Leave all agendas behind you. Let the neglected presence of your soul come to meet and engage you again.”

—John O’Donohue