Yes, the traditions of the last several years on this website will continue to be observed, but I have one more thing, one more thought to pass along to you.

Given that this is going to take some preparation on your part, prior to Christmas, I’ll tell you my thought now, instead of waiting until Christmas has come, because at that point it’ll be too late.

I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t remember the gifts that I found under the Christmas tree that Christmas morning back in 1961. I’m willing to bet that you don’t remember the gifts you were given at age 4, either.

What I do remember is the family get togethers, the smells coming from the kitchen which I can smell to this day and yes the sound of the church bells ringing across the valley on the cold night air and the feeling that it all was so very special.

In a way that we all are, or were, I was an impressionable youngster, and those memories helped to make me what I am now.

WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan noted years ago about some of the qualities of children:

“They are susceptible to wonder. A child can look at a red toy car in the red-green glow of Christmas tree lights and imagine an entire lifetime. A child can play with a new doll and smell good things being cooked and hear sweet music and it can make that child imagine that life is good, which gives her a template for good, a category for good; it helps her know good exists. This knowledge comes in handy in life; those who do not receive it, one way or another, are sadder than those who do.”

So said Peggy Noonan.

My friends, those are the memories that were supposed to be making.

It helps us to understand the difference between good and evil for one thing. It lets us know what’s important and what’s not. It Spurs the imagination as Peg says, imagining an entire lifetime. And believe it or not it gives a life direction. It’s part of the very foundation of what young people will be when the future comes.

Creating that moment, creating that environment, creating that memory, is the task of you and I now.

So many of the people that I have celebrated Christmas with over the years are now gone. Family, friends, loved ones one and all.

Yet I can still see them in my mind’s eye, hear their voices, their laughter, and remember their Joy, and yes, how it fed my own joy for the season.

As Bob seger once wrote..

Sometimes at night, I see their faces
I feel the traces they’ve left on my soul
But those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul

If you want to give somebody a lasting gift this Christmas you’re not going to do it by spending gobs of money for something to put under the tree.

Instead, I will urge you to focus on making the memories.

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