A new bike, a Barbie dream house, a My Little Pony, a new CD — all things I asked Santa to bring me for Christmas as a child. As an adult, I recall getting some of them. Don’t know on which Christmas they came or what ended up happening to them. The things that stick out the most in my mind are the holiday trips skiing with my family. At a young age my parents put me on skis and the tradition started. Every holiday we tried to go skiing. I know I always sent Santa a list, and I know he always found me. I can’t tell you what he brought me, but I can tell you what I do remember.
I remember the long car rides from Texas to Colorado where mom and dad would tell us all about the “good ol’ days.” I remember a cold snowy day in Vail where my dad bought me strawberry ice cream in a cone and we ate it as the flakes came down. Steamboat — seeing the Olympic team trials while bundled up in a then fashionable neon ski suit, Crested Butte — walking around town shopping for Bev Doolittle paintings for Dad. And most recently, we all smiled with and laughed with the innocence and awe of a child as we watched the Nights of Light parade at Mammoth Mountain in 2010. As an adult, I cherish these memories. They are mine. They won’t rust, break, get lost, stolen or forgotten like so many of the gifts that I so badly wanted Santa to bring.
So this year, why not start a tradition where memories are given instead of gifts. The best part is that you don’t even know they are being given until years later, where they will be the most prized possession of all.