“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
The scale of annual holiday celebrations varies greatly in my household from year to year. Neither my husband nor I are particularly religious, and, before children, we let our families handle the celebrations. Around the time when our eldest was three, we caved on the idea of a tree – especially since our families had grown more scattered over the years, and the annual shopping event that Christmas has become pretty much required that we do something.
We started out with living trees. Ones that we could plant out back when the ground unfroze. They did not fare particularly well, so after three years, we gave up, and tried an assortment of cut and artificial trees. This one, with the lighting wired in, is about 10 years old, and is probably on its way to wherever artificial trees go when they die. At this stage of our lives, with a retirement move looming a few short years ahead, this tree is probably our last.
The numbers in our household vary from year to year also. High school age foreign exchange students for several years – all adding their own traditions (which included the Asian New Year twice). Extended family members, and friends, living with us or just visiting. One child became two, then one was away, now back again, only to be gone again next year. Neither child is really young anymore, so the nature of the celebrating, and they types of gifts change. The year that we went to Williamsburg for a colonial Christmas experience we put up no tree except the small fiber optic one we brought to the hotel.
For many years my husband worked all holidays, so we juggled our day to fit the family dinner and something festive in – especially when we had visitors. It’s been easier for the past couple of years now that our schedule is more ‘normal’ – whatever that is.
This year we have no high school exchange students, but we do have one that attends my daughter’s university staying with us over the winter break. We have another friend of our daughter’s living with us, and a friend of ours is staying with us for the couple of weeks between the closing on his old house, and the scheduled date of his relocation to another state. So we have a full house. Which is actually kind of nice for the holidays. If exhausting.
Our daughters, and several of their friends, took care of all of the tree setting up and decorating this time around. The results are pictured here. I think it looks great, and I know they had a good time. And better still, we grown-ups didn’t have to do anything – not even directing.
With all of the people in the house this year for the holidays, my only question is: Who will take down the tree and put away the decorations?
Merry Christmas to everyone that celebrates.