Memories and the Holidays

Category: Play Therapy

“Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget so it’s the laughter we will remember”

Memories are a funny thing. The small moments may forever be embedded in your memory, but large portions of time slip away without being encoded and therefore disappearing from your life. Over time, the memories we keep tend to get shaped by the retelling of stories and shifts in perspective. It is like the telephone game: the more the story is told, the more it changes. Sad parts, painful parts, ugly parts…is it a protective mechanism that allows us to remember the good without the depths of the bad? Or do we choose to forget?

With the holiday season approaching, people tend to look back and remember time spent with family. What is your favorite part of the holidays? It is probably linked to a special dish or activity that evokes feelings of family rather than the fight between the in-laws that one Thanksgiving. Do you hold onto the good memories and forget the not-so-good? Whether it is the family tradition you celebrate every year or making grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe from scratch, memories help guide us through situations. Maybe the negative aspects of past holidays are still in the recesses of your memory and can be called upon if triggered by the current situation. But that memory may be different now, polished and brought out as a funny anecdote or cautionary tale. Memories are malleable that way.

Now with the advancement of technology, we can have pictures or videos to document our lives and preserve memories. These digital memories are beautiful and a treasure to hold onto as a reminder of the way we were.

(“The Way We Were” lyrics by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, & Marvin Hamlisch; performed by Barbra Streisand)

Michelle A. Culver, LMFT