F is For Family

There is one very strong memory that I have carried with me for a long time. My mom was away, and my dad took my older brother and I to a movie, and it was dark out and way past our bedtimes. We saw Lilo and Stitch, and there was this line that no matter how many years pass always makes me cry. O’hana means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten. December, and its associated holidays, is first and foremost about family. That meaning has been lost, and twisted into a game of buying the new shiny thing. This year, I urge you to do something meaningful with your gifts. Here are a few places to start that are a little bit better than a new Xbox.

THAT BOOK

You know the one. The one that they are always reading, the one that has had the spine replaced more than once, the pages are stained yellow and it doesn’t quite seem like the book closes all the way. That book means more to them than anything else than you could imagine. This year, get them a signed copy of it if you can. It might mean doing a bit of leg work, talking to small bookstore owners, trolling online forums, and more than one late night on eBay looking. But the moment they unwrap that gift, they will cry. Just try to keep the tears off the pages. Odds are someone has exactly what you are looking for in a storage unit, it is your job to find it.

THAT TRIP

December is hard, and it is often very difficult to cope with the fact that the sun has transitioned into a mythic figure. Gone most of the day, and stories around the camp fire are told legends of how someday it will return, and with it heat. Until that day comes, or at least for a couple of days, take a trip some place warm and sunny. Get out and spend some days by the beach drinking fruity drinks out of a different hollowed out fruit. Have some fun in the sun.

THAT GESTURE

I hesitate to admit this, but I was always a bit of a romantic growing up, having been spoiled by 1980’s romantic comedies. An easy one to pull off would be to dress up a storage unit with every memory you have with the one you love. Those pictures from the picnic, that movie ticket from your first date. Bring Ellie’s book from Up to life, show the person that is most important to you that you care. If this is the route you plan on going down though get a climate-controlled unit, preferably indoors. Rain is romantic in movies, but it really ruins every collected photo you have for this gesture. Not sure where storage units near you are? Don’t worry, I got you covered.

THAT EVENT

Everyone has one, the thing that they have always wanted to do but for some reason have never done. This year, take away that reason away. Go take that sky diving lesson; take a hot air balloon ride; see the New York City skyline from the Empire State Building; live a life worthy of envy. Everyone’s life is nothing more than a collection of moments; memories to be returned to later. Making memories is the whole point, there is a reason why the worst moments can turn into the best memories. Just remember to collect a keepsake, an item imbued with whatever adventure you went on.

A wise man once told me that while all blood is family, not all family is blood. It can be easy to forget about your friends during this time. But that isn’t what the holidays are about. They are about coming together and forging bonds, making memories and tying yourself to a community. Your community is your family, and this year make it a little bit bigger.

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