I used to think my mother was pretty strange after she had us kids raised.
There were things that she just didn’t do anymore. And I don’t think she cared either! I would often wonder if she had any fun at all!
And in regard to Christmas, I noticed that she no longer put up a tall, full Christmas tree with all the many decorations and lights!
She just stopped doing some things that she had always done. Her decorations now consisted of a little tree on a table in the living room, and a few boughs hung over the door. There was a nativity on a corner table, and a festive but simple Christmas centerpiece in the kitchen.
That was it.
What in the world was she thinking?
By now, Fred and I were stringing lights on the trees, wrestling with and decorating a large tree with at least a zillion more lights than my mother ever would have considered and we set up umpteen little trees and decorations all over the house.
As the years went by, we got even more elaborate. Actually, I felt like I had to USE the stuff, as I continued to buy more things and more things.
Decorating, buying, baking, wrapping, shopping, complaining, freezing our fingers outside while putting lights up, arranging, sending packages, hauling boxes, more complaining, searching for last years decorations that were put away somewhere…All of this was what we did in preparation for Christmas!
There was nothing better than getting the house ready for the wide-eyed children in our life, and pulling out all the stops for the young families and college students coming home for those memorable days!
I remember working hard at all this preparation, and after the presents were wrapped, the table set, and all was ready..When the Christmas festivities were in high gear , and the Christmas dinner prepared…and..and.. and….I was exhausted!
What I really wanted to do was peel off my shoes, hang up my apron, forget opening presents, and go lie down somewhere where no one could find me!
How’s that for Christmas spirit?!
However, something DIFFERENT happened to us several years ago.
You younger folk, please ignore me now. You are having a great time decorating and putting up lights, and doing it up big. I love seeing your lights and your beautiful displays.
However several years ago, I bought a small 40-inch tree from our granddaughter’s school fund raising catalog, I had just the spot for it on a table in the family room. The tree was pictured on the box adorned with pink and lime green bulbs.
I couldn’t wait to decorate it!.
Next, I planned to crawl up into the attic, and drag the big Papa tree down from storage. I had to assemble it, re-fluff all the crushed branches, and set that big guy up in the living room. Our decorations and family keepsakes, our baubles and beads, were waiting in the boxes smiling at me. Yes, they had to be hung on that large tree. It was our custom.
Somehow, .it never happened and we didn’t put the big tree up.
The little tree became THE Christmas tree, and somehow, in the hurry, scurry of it all, that little tree on the table sufficed.
I was becoming my mother.
Now, I don’t want you to think I have stopped decorating. Au contraire.
A wreath hangs on the door, a large wreath hangs in the kitchen, several crèches, a collection of Santas, and a few greeneries are draped over the cupboards.
But assembling the big tree? Digging through the precious box? Putting the branches together? Fiddling with the lights?
I think I’m done.
I guess I am in my “mother’s” mode now, and somehow, I don’t think there’s going to be a turnaround.
Mother, I understand. I get it.
Maybe next year, I will leave out some other article. I will let it happen as it happens.
In the meantime, I hope you get it all done, whatever it is you choose to do to prepare for Christmas. .
But don’t ever forget the ONE you are preparing for…and make sure you have the time for Him.
And hang in there! You can’t do it all. Do what you can.
Above all, don’t do this and that just because you have always done it that way. Take control. Decide what works for you. Save time for activity that encourages you and lifts you up; not customs that wear you out and make you cranky!
If decorating and baking, shopping and wrapping are fun for you, then go for it!
I am learning that there are no rules!
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother.