As a California native I have always taken for granted the mild temperatures we experience throughout the seasons.   One could hardly ever determine the season by the temperature, so I often had to resort to the sights and sounds of the season as reminders to help me get in the mood, such as the pallet of Fall colors that littered groves of nearby parks and lawns in Autumn or the sound of Christmas jingles on the radio the day after Thanksgiving.

These trappings gave me a chance to take in the season. Unfortunately, however, I just ended up buying useless things that attempted to make that particular season feel official. More stuff was gained but the “spirit” of the season was lost. So how does one discover that celebratory “spirit” without falling prey to the commercialism that taints each new season?

For the past three years now it has become a tradition in my family to visit a local pumpkin patch in the Fall with our kids, Aria and Nicolas. Our sister and brother in law, Sue and Clay, would team up with us and join in on the hunt for pumpkins.  The anticipation begins in September for my kids, and by the time October rolls around, they burst at the seams with excitement.

To them, pumpkin patch means Halloween and Halloween means costumes and candy.  This year’s experience was no different. The kids ran through the patch and sat on the big pumpkins, grabbed at the small ones and pointed out the strange looking ones. With the help of Sue and Clay, they were finally able to narrow down the pumpkins they wanted.

Packing our precious pumpkins into our Radio Flyer wagon, we then trekked over to the booths where they had children’s games and activities. The day wouldn’t be complete without munching on some kettle corn, corn on the cob or a plate full of doubled fried chips with a scoop of barbecue pulled pork over them.

We gathered at Sue and Clay’s house for dinner that evening. The room was filled with the sounds of forks clanging, mouths slurping, milk spilling, kids whining and laughter ringing.

But in my heart I saw bonding, community, warmth and love.  I saw it as another chance for our family members to catch up with each other.

It was another opportunity to be present with family and share in the joys of the season.Each season brings it’s own festivities, and I am so thankful for them. I realize that it’s not the festivities that make us, but what we make of them in our family.

We let those times be the glue that connect each of us together so sweet memories can be made and remembered. Those are the nuggets of gold we often seek in our family gatherings and activities. So, when the holiday madness begins this Fall, ask yourself this simple question, “What sweet memories can be made this season?”

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