Creating Etched Memories

 

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

As the holidays are in full swing, think about what moments you remember and cherish from past holiday seasons.

David Salyers, former Vice President of Chick-fil-A, describes these moments as etched memories. These are the pictures, interactions, and feelings that are carved in your mind after an important experience.

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about the power of moments and the impact of making specific aspects of an experience extraordinary and memorable. So, as we enter this holiday season, how can we intentionally create etched memories with the people we love?

How many of you remember the food that you ate on Christmas Day three years ago? Unless you eat the same thing every year (or someone burned the turkey), you probably don’t remember. But if it is your responsibility to prepare the meal for your family, the menu may consume all of your thoughts and energy on Christmas morning and during the days leading up.

How many of you remember a Christmas present you received when you were 9 years old? There are a few special Christmas presents that I remember receiving through the years, but on average, I can’t pin a specific present to a specific year. But parents everywhere agonize over having the perfect gifts for their kids to open Christmas morning.

It’s not that the food and the gifts don’t matter. However, as we get closer to the holidays, many of us will spend a disproportionate amount of energy on the components of the Christmas celebration that will have the least amount of impact. We’ll stress out over putting up the perfect decorations in our homes, having each present wrapped correctly, making sure the meal is festive enough, and sending out the Christmas cards before the week of Christmas.

We should absolutely continue to do these things. (I promise if no one ends up cooking food for anyone this Christmas, you’ll create the wrong kind of etched memory!) But how can we take time to intentionally craft a moment at the holidays that our families will be talking about for the next ten years? It doesn’t have to be extravagant or involve a lot of money. In fact, most of the time, the memories that matter revolve around people, not presents, places, or products.

Take a minute right now. Stop what you’re doing and think about the kind of memory you want to make this year.

A year from now, you might not remember the gifts you receive this Christmas. But you’ll probably remember the way you felt when you decided to give money to a family at church, so they could provide gifts for their children.

Maybe you won’t remember the hours you spent putting up decorations, but you’ll probably remember your kids’ excitement as they watched their dad saw down the family’s Christmas tree.

Maybe you won’t remember what sides you prepared for Christmas dinner, but you’ll remember the Christmas karaoke session with your daughters as you all clean up together.

Maybe you won’t remember everything you planned for Christmas morning, but you’ll remember how hard everyone laughed during that game of charades you originally planned just to kill time.

Be intentional this Christmas. This is not a charge to be extravagant, to spend more money, or to give up a crazy amount of time to plan an experience. It’s a simple reminder for each of us to focus our attention on the memories that will be etched in the minds of the people we love long after the season has come and gone.


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Today, business means more than just mere products and services. Your organization needs to stand for something. Branding is what you tell the world; leadership is how you make it come true.

No one knows this dynamic better than Kevin Paul Scott.

Companies turn to Kevin for advice on how to up the meaning-quotient in their businesses, so that employees and customers alike champion the business as if it were their own.

Let Kevin come and teach your group about how to build a business and communicate corporate values in a way that resonates with consumers.

His speeches include:
• Building a Business with Meaning
• Leading When the Majority is Wrong
• In Changing Times, Hold to Unchanging Principles
• The War for Talent: Recruiting and Retaining Top Tier Talent
• Essential Exchanges: What You Have to Give Up to Go Up