Santa sightings, wish lists, egg nog, spinning dreidels, and lighting the menorah. No matter what you celebrate, this is a special time of year filled with friends and family. Consider your parents' or grandparents' memories of holidays past compared to yours or those of your kids. A lot can change in a few generations! Your grandpa may have been thrilled to find an orange in his stocking. Kids now would wonder what they did wrong to get citrus fruit in their sock.
Personally, I remember excitable trips on the train to downtown Chicago to see the window displays outside of Marshall Fields. It was always crowded and cold, kids craning their necks for the perfect view of motorized magic. I didn't mind the elbows or cold temps. I was too busy running from window to window to follow the story narrative that ran along State Street. It was the 80s and the highlight of my year was dining at the Walnut Room, eating under the biggest Christmas tree imaginable and if I was lucky, sharing a moment with the man in red himself.
Marshall Fields has been replaced by Macy's and the window displays may not have the same appeal, but time has brought new fun traditions for my kids, such as NORAD's Santa Tracker, which follows Santa's sleigh around the world on Christmas Eve and keeps a running count of all the gifts delivered. This online marvel may be a lot different than a window display, but it's still brings magic and childhood awe.
What are your special memories from this time of year? Next time you're with family, ask them about theirs. Wishing you and your families a very happy holidays!