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 Getting Together for the Holidays: Memories Everlasting 
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by . View all columns in series
The holiday season is upon us.

Amidst the rush and the commotion that’s so typical this season, it's time to imagine settling in and finally being with our families and loved-ones. After all, that's why we spent seemingly endless hours shopping, standing in line, decorating, cooking, baking and preparing for the festivities ahead.

Can you picture those wonderful get-togethers you've planned for so long? Or is your memory failing you at the moment?

If all you can imagine is a cluttered kitchen and a marathon-like effort preparing a dinner that's gobbled down in less time than it took to make the gravy, read on.

Perhaps it's time to take a few moments to think back. Do you remember last year's Christmas dinner, or the one before, or for that matter, can you recall the details of any holiday dinner in the last 5 or so years? If you can, what do you remember?

If what surfaces is a feeling of loss for those no longer with us, your sentiments are understood. If you recall the children in your family scurrying to open presents, that's understandable as well. If the recollection of venturing out to pick up Uncle Harry because he couldn't start his car 10 minutes before your guests were about to arrive comes to mind, I wouldn’t be surprised either. Yet beyond the preparation, the sense of loss, children opening gifts and mishaps, are there any other memories that live on within you?

Don't be surprised if you draw a blank. Most family get-togethers aren't particularly memorable these days. It's not uncommon to devour a meal in less than a 30 minutes, thereafter proceeding to watch football or parades for 3-4 hours on the tube.

I'm not suggesting you avoid these activities altogether. Yet I don't particularly believe these are the elements of memories that are likely to make you feel your efforts were worthwhile. In an age when computers and television replace human interaction, there typically isn't much of value to recall the next day.

With this in mind, why not consider creating wonderful memories during this year's holiday get-together?

Perhaps the easiest way to begin is by thinking outside the box. Consider trying something new that has not been steeped in tradition. Perhaps this is your time to play!

Yes play.

I'm not talking about board games like chess or checkers. I'm suggesting you consider activities that inspire creative group expression. As an example, why not consider music-making?

If you're saying to yourself, "that's ridiculous because we don’t have an instrument in the house!" think again. Those pots, pans and silverware you just feasted with are the perfect percussion instruments of a family orchestra you will never forget.

And remember, the most basic instrument is your voice. Why not consider singing, caroling, or making up songs about your family’s heritage that inspire distant memories? Imagine the learning experience and lessons for young ones illuminated by your creativity? After all, sharing stories about your ancestors used to be rather entertaining.

This is not just a time to get together - it is an extraordinary opportunity to create a memorable family celebration of life!

And if you take this chance to extend your boundaries, there's another phenomenal benefit you may have never considered. Playing together and expressing yourself creatively builds a sense of nurturing and understanding that has great potential for moving you and your loved-ones beyond any perceived underlying conflicts that may exist. Imagine letting your hair down, really getting to know members of your family on another level and simply enjoying yourself! This is a great way to strengthen bonds that may have been stretched by considerable distances.

The real key however is creating joy and happiness that live on in our hearts. These are the moments that inspire the memories which make all of your efforts worthwhile. This is your opportunity to make that joyful noise that will never be forgotten.

As Garth Brooks once said, "Just keep taking chances and having fun." May your holiday get-togethers be filled with joyous memories that will make it all worthwhile for years to come - Mind Over Matter!

©2001 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

      
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 About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a......moreBarry Bittman MD
 
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