Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Traditions Live On

Our Personalized Snow Family
Made by our friend, Lanette, Over the Years.
Our Family Has Grown from 2 to 18.
There are 8 Babies on the Ground and
2 in Their Mothers' Arms.

As I have been decorating the house for Christmas these past couple of days I have been thinking about Christmases past and traditions and how certain things just have to be done to make it feel like Christmas! My mantra this year has been that since we are going to be gone for Christmas that I was not doing it this year. Hmmm, that didn't seems to work when it came right down to it.

It takes me about three days to get everything done just the way we like it. It is a lot of work but I just know Christmas could not come and go in this house without this effort. It just wouldn't be right somehow. I saw this quote yesterday and it made me realize why it is so important to me to keep doing it even though all the kids are long gone from home.

"She lived her life not only through her own body but through the house as an extension of her body; part of her relation to those she loved was embodied in the physical medium of the home she made." -Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts

Chris, Laura and Jennifer with Santa 1984

As I have been rummaging through the boxes I have been recalling some of the memories of the Christmases when the kids were little. Money was always tight for our young family and I can remember wondering and worrying sometimes about how it would all come together. It always did. A lot of my love for Christmas came from my own mother. She was the original Mrs. Claus. She just loved Christmas and making sure Christmas was the best for all of her kids and grandkids. I think a lot of that stemmed from never having Christmas when she was a little girl and making sure that never happened again.

We always had an abundant Christmas and it didn't matter so much what was under the tree, it was so much more about the preparations and anticipation, the decorating, the traditions of being together, mom's baking, the music, being with family and most importantly about remembering why we do it in the first place.

Sadly, Mom and Dad are no longer with us and traditions have evolved over the years, but the feelings of Christmas remain very much the same and intact for me. It is a celebration of all we hold dear, the Savior's love, life and example; the family and friends that make life worth living. It is about love and giving to others and just a lot of warm fuzzy feelings coming to the surface as I pick up each decoration. So many remind me of the kids, the places we have been, and those that have given us so many of the treasures in these boxes.

When Jim came home last night he looked around at the mess and the things I had actually accomplished and said his favorite thing is the nativity set that I had made in a ceramics class when the kids were small. As you can see it is not too elaborate and in fact reminds me of a bunch of little kids acting out the Christmas story. It was just a young mom's effort to teach the children the true meaning of Christmas many years ago. We have a more beautiful one now that is more sophisticated and fancy but this is the one he loves. I think he loves it because it does remind him of our kids and the memories of the days they were here with us.

The Simple Nativity Set I Made
That Has Taken Us Through Many Years

So I am at it again today for just the very reason that the quote mentions because,
"She lives her life not only through her own body but through the house as an extension of her body; part of her relation to those she loves is embodied in the physical medium of the home she makes." When I do this they are here with us once again and it is Christmas and the warm fuzzy feelings of hearth and home can endure.

When I am really old (I will probably wear purple but) I won't do this anymore. But for now it remains a treasured tradition to deck our halls with boughs of holly. And every year I can do it is a celebration of life, love and a golden thread that connects Christmas past, present and future.


Lanette said...

I love that quote!! It fits you to a tee - you're home is you - that's why I like hanging out there! Thanks for putting Christmas up - I can't wait to see it.

Connie said...

That is just one more thing that makes your home one of my very favorite places to be...The most important reason that I love it, though, is that YOU are there--because I do love you so!