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(December 16, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to ensure our children have happy Christmas memories…

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas?’

  • Most children say: Food!
  • Most men too!
  • Most mothers say: Work!  

Good memories are…

Why is food so memorable? Food is of special significance because the sense of smell is intricately linked with memory, more so than any other sense, just one whiff can evoke memories. 

Good memories are intricately connected to good food. Our brain sorts through our memories associating happy events with good food and celebrations. The emotional association of events and food leaves an indelible print, much more accentuated during our childhood. Childhood memories have a longer lasting imprint, especially in association with special days like birthdays and Christmas.

When my father died on Mother’s Day last year, he had vascular dementia. In fact, he was gone a couple of years previously when he could not remember any of us or that he had ever been married. But do you know what he did remember? He remembered his childhood in vivid detail!

And the one thing that what he particularly remembered was the food, especially the smell of apples at Christmas time. We all found it amazing that he had forgotten us but remembered the apples!

I guess that is what got me started thinking about memories, how we make them, and why they are important. Why are good memories especially important? The experts tell us that adults that have fond memories of their childhood are more likely to be healthy. There appears to be a connection between happy childhood memories and emotional health and stability.

And so now it is Christmas 2021. We would all agree it has been a memorable year and probably life-changing in many ways. We need to make sure this Christmas celebration is extra special as we value fellowship with extended families and friends more than ever. It would be a fitting end to a year of uncertainty and stress.

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I was looking for a good definition of memories – someone said: ‘Memories are the diary we carry about with us.’ That was good.

But I like what was said about Mary even better in Luke 2:19: ‘She treasured up all these things in her heart.’

I love that.

Memories are treasures of the heart!

Jesus said in Matthew 6:22Message, ‘It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.’ 

Mothers have the singular ability to help make happy memories.  Simple Christmas traditions, such as decorating the tree, baking cookies together, making Christmas cards, all serve to make memories. 

This year let us give our children ‘treasures of the heart’ – cook up a storm and celebrate Jesus’ birth with joy! 


Erica Grace is author of Foundations for the Family, a biblical teaching series suitable for whole congregations. She and her husband, Chris, are warmly welcomed itinerant ministers. Erica is happy to receive questions regarding the above article and her research into this subject. Links:

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