Making Christmas Memories: a lesson from Pixar’s “Up”

Tonight, I’m pulling an all-nighter in Germany to ensure that I sleep well tomorrow on the flight back to the U.S.  Part of this effort included watching a movie I was long overdue to see:  Up.  While the entire movie was incredible (of course, it’s a Pixar), one line in particular jumped out at me.  Regarding his relationship with his father, the young boy, Russell, says, “That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.”

In the midst of this Christmas season, I know all of us are making much effort to create memories with our families.   And if you’re anything like me, it is easy to believe that a family activity must be magnificent to be memorable.  We think things like, “If only I could afford to get Susan that gift she’s been really wanting, she’d never forget it.”  Or, “Our family has to go to the best light show on Christmas Eve to make this year special.”  And while this thinking is understandable, the problem is that it places the responsibility for memorability on something that is not relational:  a gift, an event…a thing.

Over the years, my family has made various efforts to make the Christmas season memorable:  trips to NYC, attending Broadway shows, attending Christmas plays at local theaters, vacations, etc.  And while many of these attempts may have been successful in creating memories, I have only one Christmas memory that I can absolutely guarantee you I will seek to replicate when I father my own family one day in the future:  cutting down a live Christmas tree together.  (Sound boring enough?)

After I graduated high school, my parents purchased a fake tree.  And I can honestly say that I do not miss, nor remember, any Christmas activity more than cutting a live tree.  Why?  Because it involved nothing more than a field, a saw, and a group of people who share love and a last name.  What is more relational than that?

This Christmas, make memories with your family.  But don’t get caught up in the misconception that an activity must be magnificent to be memorable.  Because come this time next year, “the boring stuff is the stuff [your family will] remember the most.”

Not sure where to start?  Give this a try.

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Ryan Stigile

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