Friday, December 6, 2013



Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the United States. I hope yours was warm and filled with love for family and friends. Margaret and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in New York City with our kids and grandkids, and it was a wonderful experience filled with good memories.
With every experience, we make memories. But I believe that by being highly intentional, we can create opportunities for deep, meaningful memories of connection and love. Here are the elements we need to make memories that we will be able to look back on fondly for years to come:
1. Initiative: Make Something Happen.
Our visit to New York on Thanksgiving weekend didn’t just happen. Margaret and I decided to plan the trip months ago. And we invited the kids and grandkids as soon as we decided to go. The first step in creating a memorable experience is the decision to do it. Start by deciding to lead your life, rather than just letting it lead you. Be intentional about creating memories.
2. Time: Set Aside Time to Make It Happen.
We all have busy schedules, and it’s easy for time with family and friends to fall by the wayside. The way I avoid that is to schedule that time first. When we decided to go to New York, we put it on the calendar, with the understanding that nothing else would interfere with our family time together. Don’t let your calendar rule you. Remember that “quality time” comes out of “quantity time.”
3. Planning: Plan For Something to Happen.
Soon after we decided to go, the planning began. Again, we knew that it wouldn’t just happen. My assistant Linda worked hard to help us with travel, lodging, and touristy activities. Of course, some favorite memories may come from spontaneous events or even mishaps, but by planning ahead you’ll be opening up the opportunities for memorable moments.
4. Creativity: Find a Way to Make Something Happen.
It didn’t take us long to discover that a lot of people like to spend Thanksgiving in New York. Everything from finding a hotel to booking a Thanksgiving dinner took creativity. Even when you come up against obstacles in creating a memory, do what you can to make it happen. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. We had special dietary restrictions in our group, but with creativity we found a place that could accommodate all our needs.
5. Shared Experiences: Make Something Happen Together.
Of course, our first goal in making this memory was to share it with the kids and grandkids. And we had many shared experiences together over those few days, from hearing carolers in Central Park, to riding the wooden escalators at Macy’s, to seeing the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade as they were inflated. Remember that shared memories are made up of little moments together. Be intentional about embracing them, and everyone will benefit.
6. Mementos: Show That Something Happened.
When we visited Macy’s, one thing the grandkids did was each pick out an ornament to help them remember the trip. And of course, we took a lot of photos, so we can look back at our experiences. What you choose as a memento doesn’t have to be big or expensive; it just has to be meaningful to you.
7. Relive the Memory: Talk About What Happened.
My favorite time together on the trip was during Thanksgiving dinner. We were in a quiet side room at the restaurant, so we were able to go around the table sharing what we were thankful for from the past year. It was incredibly touching. By putting your experiences into words, you strengthen the memories, so you can enjoy the stories for years to come.
One of the last things I did with the grandkids is something I do every time we have a special time together: I made up a story for them. This time, it was about how all five of them named the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love coming up with the ideas, and the grandkids enjoy being “in” each story. It’s yet another memory that we intentionally create with the family.
I hope in the coming holiday season, you will make memories with your loved ones. Nothing lasts in this world except people and our relationships with them. By creating memories, you add richness to your relationships and end up with something to enjoy over and over again in the future.

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