Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Over Emphasis On Tradition

Angie here: How important is doing Christmas perfectly each year? Or having the perfect tree?

Are you flexible or does everything have to be exactly so?

Sometimes our desire to make life be so perfect, Christmas be so perfect, we stress to the point of not enjoying it. But worse, sometimes is when our intense drive for the "perfect" Christmas destroys the joy of unscripted moments. Is the storybook Christmas really what you want?

Christmas 2007
I had to laugh last night that my son, now a daddy of two, pointed to his tree saying it had less ornaments and he liked it better than the way I (mom) always decorated the tree. He said my trees were always overloaded with decorations and had too much. (See above.)

So why was I laughing? Because just about every mom out there knows that her "perfect" Christmas tree is decorated by her children and never looks anything like the image in her mind. If it were me, I'd have had a more minimalist tree, elegant, a theme color each year. But each child had to have this or that ornament. We had to add more and more as they remembered or competed to make their part of the tree sooo pretty.

This year, I wasn't even present for the decorating because I'm visiting my son, his wife, new 2 week old grandson and his 2 year old big brother. So the rest of the family went to get the tree and decorated it at our regular Sunday family dinner. My oldest son said, "It was sad and not the same that you weren't here." 26 years mom was always there for the tree.

Christmas is a little different with all the changes. It's not exactly the way we would see it in our mind's eye wishing all the kids were in one town. I didn't make cocoa and cookies, but it's still wonderful and the tree is still up. And I'm visiting those that won't be there on Christmas. It's different, but wonderful to be flexible. Then I think about all the Christmas times past. None were exactly what we thought going into them. I've worked many while airline and my step mom made the holiday meals. Then there were the Christmas times spent in Spain where our first tree was made of string between corners and paper leaves and construction paper chains. Definitely not over decorated.

Will I ever have that "perfect" tree or Christmas that's exactly what I imagine? I doubt it. I have the perfect memories of funny looking trees and little children learning about Jesus. Over decorated, paper trees...that's perfect enough for me.


  1. I'm the same way, Angie. The tree (and any other traditions) are about family and children and celebrating Jesus. And sometimes that mean flexibility. But there are those things we try to do the same because it's comforting--reading of The Night Before Christmas and the nativity story from Luke. Putting all the kids' handmade ornaments on the tree (from preschool on). Going to a candle-light service together.

    Some of the other events come and go, but we try to focus on family and spend time together among the chaos. :)

  2. Nice memories, Angie. Thanks for sharing. My kids are teenagers now and none wanted to help decorate the tree because we are always in NC during the holiday, but I managed to get it done. I will say that at least half the ornaments were not put out. Like you, I like the minimal look too.

  3. Missy and Dianna, I have to admit I love sitting by the tree alone at night. But I'd honestly never get it put up if it were just me. I guess that's as minimalist as it gets, lol. I love Christmas Eve and Day. But so much of this season is just stress and spending. I prefer not to. But the one tradition I make sure of is going to worship on Christmas Eve. I don't see any reason for the holiday otherwise. It would be so empty and meaningless. I'd rather go minimalist on the presents too. One of our family members asked if we could just relax and stay home to open presents this year without the rush of going to church. Nope. I'd rather forget the presents, thank you. I hope we will sing some carols together this year. But that might be the "perfect" idea sneaking back in ;)

  4. I gave up on that perfect business a long time ago. The only thing showing up outside my house this year is a wreathe and it has yet to be lit.

  5. This year Downey, my daughter, had full reign over decorating our tree. I tend to like to control things, but with my schedule as hectic as it has been, I've had to let go.

    One tradition I'm trying to start is making a cake on Christmas. With all the Santa talk, I wanted to remind my children the reason for the season and make Jesus a birthday cake. Downey will help with that also. Making great memories here.