Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas with Mixed Feelings

Over the past few years I have not always decorated our home for the Christmas season; this includes not putting up a Christmas tree every year.  I love Christmas, enjoy Christmas sermons at church, fully delight in Christmas songs and have fun with family and friends during this special time.  But for some reason, I often have a hard time putting up decorations. 

I think part of it stems from the fact that when I was younger and in school, taking down the tree and trimmings meant Christmas break was fast coming to an end.  This ending of a two week break always did make me somewhat depressed; my free time was and still is important to me, and school was not something about which I was always thrilled.  Also I do not have anyone in the house that experiences child-like glee, excitement and anticipation of Christmas; so there is no pure innocent enthusiasm I can catch from others in my house.   But still I feel the house is empty without any kind of decorations and that the spirit of the season has not fully settled into our home.

When I was living with my parents, my dad would take us out to a field nearby for us to search for and cut down a Christmas tree.  That was always a fun and exhilarating time for me.  We would get the tree back to the house, put in a stand, and my sister and I would decorate it with combination of ornaments we made, given to us by a grandmother and from a store.   Putting up the tree and knowing what lay ahead for us was such a pleasure to me as child and even into my teen years.  But then later in my teen years I was the only child left in the house and taking down the tree after Christmas became more like a chore.   Not to mention Christmas break coming rapidly to an end really dampened my mood.

But here I am many years later and I cannot settle my feelings on Christmas decorations.  Since being in the real world and becoming a working adult, I have learned better how to deal with my feelings for the couple of days we might get off for Christmas.  Though I still strongly miss those 2 week school breaks, I hope today’s students do not take that time for granted because before they know it will all be over. 

So back to decorating my house.  For a few of the years we lived in a loft in Atlanta, I would get about a 4 foot tree and put it on the dining area table.  The reason: there is no telling what our dog would have done to the tree and ornaments while we were away if it had been standing on the floor in the traditional manner.  Earlier this month while telling one of my co-workers I was not putting up a tree this Christmas, she jokingly called me ‘un-American.’  Since Thanksgiving I have wrestled with the idea of decorating our house or not and felt slightly distressed by the thoughts of both. 

After much consideration, I finally decided on putting up a few decorations with a winter theme.  So I bought some small, woodland, winter-themed ornaments and set them on a decorative plate and put them in the living room.  These ornaments consist of a super cute squirrel, a snowman, ‘pine branches’ with accompanying pine cones, an old-fashioned lantern and a couple of other small woodsy baubles.  I did make two small ‘Christmas trees’ that are cone-shaped and made of foam; these are wrapped in a wintry-themed wrapping paper.  And on our front door, I have a wintry themed wreath.  So with these trimmings, I feel good about leaving them up through January; though I will take down the “Christmas trees”.  I wanted things to leave up for a while and not look Christmas-y, and I think I accomplished my goal.  So now my house does not feel empty, even though I do not have up many things, and I feel a little more prepared for Christmas and the spirit it brings. 

So Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!!!  I hope you celebrate in whatever way makes the season merry and bright to you!

Todays pun courtesy of the interwebs:

What did the Gingerbread Man put on his bed?  A cookie sheet!