|Whatever you do, don't blink.|
My oldest daughter's first Christmas was a typical first Christmas. She had more toys than she could possibly need. We actually had to open them in two sessions because she fell asleep before she finished. We continued this on as my other children were born. Every year a tree, decorations on the house, presents. Then 7 years ago I miscarried on December 16th. We didn't do decorations on the house that year but we forced our way through the tree and presents for the kids. If I am honest, I never really recovered my Christmas spirit after I lost my baby. Every year around this time brings me a profound sadness that I can't seem to exchange for the commercial Christmas joy. But, as sad as December the 16th makes me, it is not really why we have decided not to do a Christmas tree this year, it has simply served to slowly open our eyes up to what our family really wants Christmas to be about: Jesus and family time.
This year we will not put up a tree:
1. Because we don't have the space to bring in more stuff. As you know, last year we sold our big 3,200 square foot house in suburbia for a 1,600 square foot house in the country. While I know that 1,600 is still quite big to most of the world, it has been quite an adjustment for us and with that adjustment we have had to make some major life changes. With downsizing the house we have had to do some major purging. It makes little sense to purge only to turn around and fill that space back up with more stuff.
2. Because it is expensive. I skipped the sales. Our children are getting 1 gift from us, which will either be consumable (art supplies and the like) or Lego. Since we made such major life changes with the move, we have decided that we must follow through with our intentions to become debt free. We will save quite a bit of money this year by not over indulging our children with more stuff.
3. Because Christmas makes a big mess. Call me selfish, but I do not want to have to clean up after Christmas. I don't want to have to take down the tree, pack up all of the stuff, clean up the wrapping paper and so on. Yes, my family would help, but I would just much rather use my time to actually be with my family. I want to be sitting around the fireplace playing games and talking with them, not watching everyone rush off into different rooms so they can play with the newest piece of whatever they just got. My husband doesn't get a ton of time off work and I would much rather we spend that cuddled up on the couch than ripping lights down off the roof.
4. Because after looking at Christmas decor and hearing Christmas music since before Thanksgiving, frankly, by the time it actually rolls around I am sick of it. Every year stores put out decor earlier and earlier. Christmas music starts being played mid-November and the ads everywhere start featuring Santa. Yeah, it gets old fast. I mean seriously, who wants to listen to songs about it snowing when the weather outside is still in the mid 70's?
Don't worry! Just because we are going minimal on Christmas this year does not mean it is all bah humbug in the Molder house! We have already enjoyed many Christmas activities together. We have packed Operation Christmas Child boxes, we have watched a Christmas river parade, and we will have a big family get together that will include a small gift exchange and ugly Christmas sweaters. We will celebrate Christ's birth and talk about what it means for believers. I will bake yummy goodies and we took the kids to see Disney on Ice as part of their Christmas gift. However, this year, the focus will be on Jesus' birth and simply being together.