Growth Spurts: Merry Christmas!
Putting up our family’s Christmas decorations, including decorating the tree, usually only takes a few hours. We could probably get it done even faster, but we get distracted by watching It’s a Wonderful Life, which is our yearly tradition. We also take a few moments to enjoy the annual display of our favorite ornament: a Partridge Family bus that plays “Come On, Get Happy” when you push the door. (See last December’s “Growth Spurts” on the Parents & Kids website for reference.) But we keep the decorating pretty simple. Some years we are a bit more ambitious, and my husband and son put lights on the outside of the house, which we all enjoy. We aren’t Grinches, but neither are we Griswolds.
We do enjoy driving around different neighborhoods and looking at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. I’m not sure how this happened, but somehow our tradition has become yelling, “LIIIIIIIIGHTS!!” whenever one of us sees a decorated house. This is fun but also somewhat dangerous, particularly if I’m the one in the driver’s seat. (I startle easily.)
We’ve never done Elf on the Shelf (though I think we’d have great fun thinking up creative locations and settings), and we’ve always been pretty half-hearted in our dealings with Santa. He visits us, but it’s not because we visited him first, I’m afraid. We’ve gotten by with letters…or less. Side note: When our toddling firstborn started noticing all the pictures of the white-bearded man, her response was: “Noah?”
We used to take some really cute photos for our Christmas cards. But because of the card-production expense and not wanting to leave anybody out, we stopped sending cards altogether. Okay, and because most of our family and friends see us on Facebook all the time anyway. We very much enjoy receiving all the cards that people send to us, but I’m afraid we don’t return the favor. (Thanks for not taking it personally, friends.)
I get great joy out of giving gifts, and so do my children. So we enjoy the shopping/wrapping/secret-keeping processes. Truthfully, we enjoy being on the receiving end of gifting, as well. And even though we each make wish lists, we never expect to get everything on our lists. We give–and receive–good gifts and are thankful for them. Thankfulness is a high priority in our family.
One of my favorite gifts that we give our children is a new ornament for each of them every year. The ornaments are picked out specifically for each of them according to their interests, their activities, or their stories from the previous year. They look forward to these, and we all love seeing the various–and somewhat random–ornaments that span their lifetimes.
Every year we have wonderful intentions of being consistent with our Advent readings and activities. Some years are better than others regarding this. But we hope that the heart and meaning are not lost, no matter how many days’ readings we miss.
Every family is different. We all have traditions and activities that are important to us. Some of us go all out, and others of us like to keep it simple. Neither is wrong. I think that no matter how much we decorate or bake or shop or entertain or don’t, it is most important for us to lead our families in upholding the spirit and meaning of the Christmas season. May you and your family have the merriest of Christmases this year!
Carrie Bevell Partridge LIIIIIIIIGHTS!! (Did I startle you?)