But more often than not, Halloween or Thanksgiving pass us by and I realize that the handful of decorations we've somehow amassed over the years for that holiday never made it out of the attic.
Basically, it's a question of cost-benefit analysis. A decade of parenting has shown that decorative items in our house are 2-3 times more likely to be broken, hidden, flushed, or eaten by a child than seen by another living person. And besides, I'm not sure visitors to our house can even see through the permanent kid-related debris of colored pencils and balled-up socks that lives here.
But then Christmas rolls around, and I have to admit I'm a sucker for decorating at Christmastime.
I made the picture on our mantel a few years ago and I'm still really excited about it. I saw something similar to it and
I designed it after learning a vector graphics program on our computer and had it printed on a 16x20 canvas. I look forward to taking it out every year. There's just something I really like about synthesizing some of the fun (but sort of random) holiday traditions like Christmas trees with my personal beliefs about why Christmas is important.
Speaking of Christmas trees, I love decorating ours. It's like a trip down memory lane because we've gotten an ornament from every place we've ever lived or visited, from our honeymoon in Aruba to our last summer vacation to Washington, D.C. to the colleges and grad schools we've attended.
|Not pictured: copious amounts of needles and a few random kitchen implements that are always under the tree for some reason. (Ask the toddler.)|
But also, many of our ornaments point to the real reason we celebrate Christmas. I'm not sure why, but my favorite of all is probably the simplest one. My daughter made it when she was 3, and it's literally 4 big popsicle sticks glued around a picture.
We have several other ornaments that depict the Nativity somehow, but I have a particular fondness for this one:
At the top it says "God So Loves You," a play on words from John 3: 16 in the Bible: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I like it because:
- It personalizes just a bit why it really was that the Savior came; if you or I had been the only person on Earth, Christ still would've come down and did what He did.
- When my daughter first brought it home I looked at the funky script writing at the top and thought it said "God No Loves You," which we have a good laugh over every year when we take it out.
And then there's this ill-fated project. Using my trusty vector graphics program and a repurposed frame that was here when we moved in, I got it in my head to make this:
However, it spent years half-finished collecting dust in the basement.
It wasn't until last July, when in a frenzied attempt to be the kind of person who finishes things, I finally took the picture file I'd designed to Staples and had it printed. I got a raised eyebrow from the woman at the counter, who apparently didn't understand how a person can fail at life to the extent that they're still working on Christmas projects 7 months later.
(I prefer to think of myself as 5 months ahead of schedule for next Christmas, by the way.)
Lastly, I got this as a gift from a little girl I taught in a Sunday School class years ago and it's been one of my favorites ever since.
Although it's a simple plastic frame from the dollar store (love you, Dollar Tree!) and three simple silhouettes I could probably find with a 20-second Google images search, I absolutely love it. Three scenes that tell an abbreviated version of the Christmas story.
Admittedly, I'll probably never get into decorating the house to the nines for St. Patrick's or Valentine's Day. But that's alright with me. Those holidays are fun but not particularly meaningful to me like Christmas is.
I do, however, want to get a start on collecting some Easter decor that's as significant to me as the things I put out at Christmas. It seems ironic that it's much easier to walk into Target and find religious decorations for Christmas than it is for Easter. Why is that?