Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath

Today is two weeks before Christmas, and I have really been thinking a lot about why our family does a lot of the things we do each Holiday Season.  We go all out.  We have three Christmas trees, not counting the small one in my daughter’s bedroom. In fact, we pretty much redecorate our entire home every December! What used to take a couple of hours now takes three to four days!!

I have my very own “Santa Tree”, where I display all of my collectible Santa and Father Christmas ornaments.  I also have an ever-growing collection of Santas, which has outgrown the top of my piano, where it was displayed for many Christmases, and is now threatening to take over the entire downstairs! My Mom has her own tree, as well, decorated in a really cool Southwest Theme, complete with chile peppers and cacti!

Our “Family Tree” features all sorts of Hallmark collectible ornaments, some dating back

Family Christmas Tree

Family Christmas Tree

to the early 1970’s, when my mother first started buying one each year.  Kendall requested that we send his ornaments to him after he got married, which was a heart-wrenching thing, but in spite of one-third of our ornaments being MIA, our tree is still full. 🙂  This is a good thing!

Mom has an amazing Dept. 56 “Snow Village”, that takes up our entire entertainment center, and that’s no small piece of real estate!  It is adorable, with little houses and shops all lit up for Christmas, complete with an ice skating pond and Malt Shop.  Mom has this nostalgic thing about the 1950’s, so that’s the era her Snow Village depicts.  I am more traditional than my mother, and would have gone for the Victorian era, but it’s exquisite and fun, nonetheless!

After Gaylon and I got married, Mom also started collecting Spode for us.  Spode is from England, and they have several patterns of fine china, but arguably, their best-loved and most well-known pattern is their Christmas tree set. Occasionally our friends or family will add to this collection, and so we now have twenty-six years worth of Spode!  It’s pretty impressive, and without question, my Spode is one of my most prized possessions. (And my children are already fighting over who gets it when I die! :-/)

Also belonging to the “Prized Possessions” category would be our Christmas stockings, all of which I cross-stitched.  It’s pretty obvious that I made Kendall’s first, because it’s really basic, but by the time I got to Faith’s (AKA: Abby’s) I had pretty much hit my stride.  (I will be posting pictures soon!) Kendall has hinted that he would appreciate me making a new, more ‘grown-up’ stocking for him. (Sheesh!  First he wanted all of his ornaments, and now a new stocking? ;))

But all of this begs the question: WHY?  Yeah, I know that on Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I am a Christian, so I’m very familiar with this! 😉  In fact, the weeks leading up to Christmas are some of my favorite!  We call this time in the Liturgical Year “Advent”, and it is a time of reflection, repentance, and preparation for the coming of Jesus. But many people manage to celebrate Christmas with one tree and maybe a wreath or two.  (We have several of those, as well!)  Is this just an exercise in excess?  Some sort of manic-obsessive-compulsive thing I’ve got going on, that rears its Yuletide head every Advent?

I think that, in all honesty, I would have to admit that, yes, I am a bit over-the-top with Christmas.  But I think it is because there is a really big part of me that loves all that this season represents.  I love the idea of spending extra time each morning reading Advent devotionals and praying.  I love the idea of preparing my heart and soul for the coming of my savior.  It helps me to re-focus and re-dedicate.  It’s so amazingly easy for me to get off track and forget to make extra time for prayer, for God.  Advent gently helps me re-center.

Santa Tree

But it’s not just the religious aspect of this season that I love. I love the idea of families getting together to celebrate, (especially when that celebration is a shared religious holiday).  I love shopping, I love all the lights and decorations.  Our neighborhood is lit up, and glorious! I love the wonderful performances this time of year, as well. Living Christmas Trees, Christmas Pageants, Symphonies, Concerts, and my all-time favorite, the Nutcracker Ballet! I love the music and the movies, and I really love getting cards from friends and family, far-and-wide.

So for me, I think the Holiday Season gives me a feeling of connectedness that I crave, and don’t feel as strongly the rest of the year.  A wonderful  connectedness with friends and family, and with my religion, my spirituality, as well.  It all comes together, at least for me, in one glorious crescendo! (Cue up – Carol of the Bells, Trans-Siberian Orchestra version!!)

So, with all of that in mind, would you please leave me a comment below, and tell me why YOU celebrate Christmas?  I am planning to post a new topic each day until Christmas, and am really hoping to hear from all of you about what you like/enjoy, and why. Look for coming posts (and questions!!!) about all things Christmas: movies, music, ethnic celebrations, foods, memories, and more! (Please leave your comments here on my blog, and not on Facebook!)

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