The other day I was talking with a friend, and she asked, “Are you the type of person who likes to get what they need or what they want for Christmas?”
I thought about it and said, “Neither. I like sentimental gifts.”
The truth is that Jamie and I don’t buy a lot of Christmas presents. We’re both adults, and when it comes to the things we need, I like to pick them myself. Personally, there’s not a lot that I want—I’m just not a “things” person. But get me a sentimental gift…an ornament or a picture or a card that reminds me of a special moment or an inside joke, and you have my heart.
That’s one of the reasons that I enjoy decorating the Christmas tree so much…most of the ornaments carry a memory.
Some are from our childhood—-like this ornament that Jamie and I would fight over who would take it with us when we grew up and left home. (Who knew we’d just share a house and a tree and could both enjoy it?)
Others remind me of special times with my Mom, like this ornament she bought me because I used to be a fashionista.
This is one we bought together on a shopping trip.
This one reminds me of how much we loved watching figure skating together. (Until they changed the judging system and ruined the sport—yes, I’m still bitter!)
Some remind me of special things Jamie and I’d done.
This one is from a trip we took to look at Christmas lights in Virginia Beach.
Here’s one that reminds me of the day we went Christmas shopping and treated ourselves to peppermint cupcakes.
Of course, we have to have one to honor our tradition of watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” every year since we were kids. (Jamie can recite it now, and he does—through the whole movie.)
Whether it’s my flip-flop ornaments or the obligatory Denver Broncos ornament, each holds a memory of people and places I love.
Although I can’t remember most of the gifts I’ve received over the years (just a few days ago, Jamie and I were trying to remember what we got each other last year), I cannot forget these times we spent together.
That’s why I’m a big believer that it isn’t the gifts that matter—-it’s the moments.
The best advice that I can give anyone this holiday season is to slow down and be intentional about taking time to enjoy the season.
Don’t rush through everything trying to get all the gifts, go to every event, and make everyone happy.
Instead, choose to enjoy the season with those you love.
Who knows that the trip to the mall where you doddle with your kids, the cupcake you take a moment to share in the food court, the movie you watch by the light of your own Christmas tree, or the private joke your family shares won’t be someone’s treasured memory years from now?
Perhaps the little, seemingly unimportant things are the essential things in life.
This year, when I look at my Christmas tree, I am so grateful for each memory.
Though they aren’t filled with anything expensive or extravagant, they are filled with love and laughter. These are the days I want to remember.
They remind me the most important thing we can give this Christmas is love and good memories.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.