With the Christmas season upon us, many are trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on their lists. I myself have been in the very same situation. I stopped recently and thought about all the things I got as a child and honestly can't remember many of the gifts.

I could really only ponder on the moments, the laughs, the funny Christmas pajamas and how my mom always wanted to take pictures the minute we woke up without brushing our hair or our teeth. And my mom ever so patiently waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to put the tree up and all of the colorful decorations. The Christmas music would start playing, and there would be a different feeling in the air. Plans were made, menus were discussed and lists were given.

As we get older, the lists really never seemed to matter as much as we thought. I could have done without all the cool new toys and just enjoyed cooking with my mom and my memaw and listening to her sing. Maybe could have taken a little extra time to learn to play the guitar like my dad or an extra few minutes to help with the last-minute touches to the decorations around the house. 

I don't know about you, but as I have gotten older the material things just don't matter. The things you can't wrap and can't hold in your hands are the very things you wish you had more of. The moments in time that you can't get back, are priceless!!

My mom has always been the most generous person I know. She would literally give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. She works tirelessly every year preparing for the family to come and hardly sits down to enjoy it. Over the years, I have tried to make a point to go over before everyone else and spend a little extra time with her in the kitchen. 

She doesn't know it, but those moments have been some of the best gifts to me. As children, we don't realize that the latest toys and gadgets will always be available and there will always be new ones. However, our parents, grandparents and other relatives will not always be around and the valuable lessons that they teach us and the family history that we learn from them will one day be forgotten if we don't take the time to soak it all in. 

Christmas Eve, as long as I have been alive, my dad has sat with us and read the true story of Christmas from the Bible. The true meaning of Christmas is beautifully displayed in a story of love and simple means along with the birth of our Lord and Savior. 

Every year, it seems that is forgotten more and more, and we spend all of our time focusing on things that can be bought and returned rather than on things that can be cherished for many years to come. Imagine how long it took to string popcorn for tree trimmings, but I am sure the conversations included laughter and lots of love. It wasn't about spending money. It was about spending time with each other. 

I pray that this year, during this Christmas season that you and I both will remember what's really important, the true reason for the season, and spend more time making traditions that last for the ages and less on the latest gadgets that will be forgotten. 

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email ashley.carter@1819news.com.

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