This is exactly how we ended up with a Christmas tree in our living room.
How we could make November special without rushing straight into Christmas? Will our neighbors see decorations through the window and think we're crazy? Sure, why not. My husband's words echo through my head. Before thinking too much into it, I hear myself blurt, "Alright, then let's put up the tree, babe."
And so we did. We ransacked the house and front porch, gathering pumpkins, lights, fall-colored sprigs, and anything else that related to harvest, turkeys, and light. We spent the next few hours cramming our random finds into the tree and laughing about each item. Content with our efforts, we stood back, admired our work, and set a plan into motion.
Each night at dinner, we'd fill out a new tag to hang on the tree - a statement of gratitude. These acknowledgements of blessing would become the foundation of our journey to advent - the underpinning of our attitudes and a grounding for motives. Santa's fun and all, but this season, we'd get to make the rules for our own family. Here's what we came up with:
- Rule Number One: You can't earn love. We'll give and receive gifts regardless of our mistakes. Naughty or nice need not apply. God didn't wait until His kids were "good" to gift them Jesus or Holy Spirit, and neither will we as we celebrate Christmas.
- Rule Number Two: Gifts will be thoughtful. A service of the heart. Even if it's a single piece of paper with a stick figure drawing. Oh yeah...and "Santa's" gifts to the kids will never be more exciting than our gifts to them as parents. Sorry big guy. We love them bigger, and well, you're only here for a short while.
- Rule Number Three: Family connection will always be more important than the mainstream "should's" of Christmas. What works for us, may not work for other families and that's OK. We can each go about this thing prayerfully. Creatively. This season will be one of peace, not a full-throttle sprint to holiday "perfection."
What are your favorite holiday traditions?