Christmas decorations. To take down or put up!
Christmas decorations. I do adore them. They’re beautiful and magical and it wouldn’t be Christmas without them. I love all the trimmings of the season for their beauty and their nostalgia. I love cooking in my kitchen next to the tin tray painted by my great grandmother and all the kitschy little things the boys bring home from school.
Some of my favorite decorations are the ones handed down to me by my family like grandmother’s nativity set. I love the art deco creche and the funky little animals collected in her travels and passed down to her by family members I never had a chance to meet.
I also love the decorations given to me by my Mom who passed away ten years ago. When I put out the things she gave me, it reminds me of my childhood and helps me to feel her presence and continue the traditions she began with my own boys. My favorite things she gave me are beautiful little white churches she collected for me from ebay. They’re the kind that are supposed to light up. But, I’m too afraid I’ll burn the house down with their old wiring. So, I never plug them in. Still, they’re lovely.
So much history and so many stories in each little item of Christmas. It’s like being surrounded by the past and the present all at once.
Yet, as a clergyperson in charge of putting on many a Christmas event at a busy church, my relationship with all the trimmings of Christmas is… well, complicated. By December 25th, I’ve put up and taken down more than a few Christmas garlands and trees. So, by the time Christmas actually comes along, I’m more than a little wiped out and in need of a break from all the stuff and hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Clergy or not, you might feel a little like me at this point in the season.
Though I adore the liturgical calendar and the order it brings to my life, I am probably one of the first people to take down my Christmas tree and all the red and green of Christmas.
I know, I know… It sounds weird.
We’re supposed to keep up Christmas for all 12 days and into Epiphany and you probably thought I would be a big follower of this tradition. I just went on and on about how much I love it all.
But, the truth is, I need a break around now…a reset button to be able to slow down enough to reconnect with the birth of Jesus and feel the stillness my soul needs. So, I’ve found my own ways to both honor the season and story of Christmas and take the break I need from the work of Christmas. So, while the tree and most of the trimming gets packed up, I put my nativities out front and center. I have many and it is nice to be able to focus just on them without all the other stuff.
I take down all the red and green and put up some white- the true color of Christmas.
Here is a little white rag banner I made this year at our women’s Christmas event. The story of Emmanuel seems to fit better in a setting of simplicity anyway.
All this to say, no matter what others may tell you, there is no wrong or right way to observe the liturgical seasons. Do what your soul needs to connect with the story of Christmas.
So, whether you’ve taken down your tree or you’re leaving it up for a few more days, Merry Christmas!