A few years ago my family came up with a bizarre idea for a New Years tradition. Each year one of us chooses a subject, we all build it out of Popsicle sticks and then burn it to the ground at midnight. The first few years we built the Eiffel Tower, a hot air balloon and a Trojan horse large enough for a child to sit on its back.
This year it was my turn to decide what we would build so I chose an old ship modeled after the Santa Maria. At first I worried that it would be too complicated but I shouldn’t have doubted my family’s creative talent.
With my wife leading the charge we started to build the ship at around 10 AM on New Year’s Eve. Using nothing but Popsicle sticks, hot glue guns and the occasional cutter to shape some of the sticks, we spent all the way up to midnight finishing our ship.
At one point somebody questioned the value of spending the whole day on one project. One of my brothers responded by saying, “The point of this project is to make memories. We won’t look back someday and say remember when we played board games on New Years but we will talk about the ship we built out of Popsicle sticks for years to come.”
Sometimes we forget to use creativity when crafting ways to spend time together. My brother’s comment was a great reminder to make the most of our times together by creating unforgettable memories.
After spending over 12 hours creating the ship it was hard to want to let it burn. The ship turned out better than we could have imagined and it was almost too nice to destroy. A tradition is a tradition, however, so we lit it up with a blaze of glory to celebrate the arrival of 2014.
When I posted a picture of the fire to Instagram later, a friend made an insightful comment. “…everything we create or acquire doesn’t last but experiences, memories and the friendships we make along the way last forever.” This brought it all together for me. We don’t need a ship made of popsicle sticks sitting somewhere and collecting dust. What we do need is to keep spending intentional time together and making memories that will help to deepen our bonds.