Backwards WFMW - Christmas

I know what you are thinking. Christmas? Isn't this the lady who was complaining not too long ago about being rushed through fall and into winter. Yes, yes it is but... this Christmas is very important to me. Turns out we will be here in Utah and not with family on Christmas day. We will go visit Craig's family right after Christmas when it is still "the holiday season" so we aren't pathetic loners but since this is our first Christmas at our home, and actually, our first Christmas where "our home" existed, whether we were there or not, I want it to be really special. And I feel like it is really going to set the stage for our future Christmas's. I mean, this is the year to start the traditions I want us to do forever. I know that we can and will start new traditions later and probably drop a few we don't have time for but still, this year sets a precedent. Talk about pressure. Which is not what I want at all. I want to focus on the real meaning of the season. (Sidenote: Big pet peeve of mine, don't say the real meaning of Christmas is "family." I mean, don't get me wrong, families are great. I love mine. But Christmas isn't about family, it's about Jesus.) Okay, I'm over that now.

Anyway, growing up we had some good traditions and some okay traditions. I mean, some I liked mostly because they were traditions and not because they were that great. But Christmas was always special. And in college, it was even more so. I loved coming home from break and walking in my front door and being home and knowing it was "Christmas time." Especially since my mom did all the work. But last years holidays were a little crazy for me. I had just graduate and was getting ready to get married so I was a little stressed. I spent most of the my Christmas break fluctuating between wishing they would end so I could get married already and finally live in same time zone as Craig or being all depressed/emotional about how this was my last Christmas with my family and everything was going to change and my family would never see my again once I moved to Utah. I made it through, but it lacked the warm fuzzies that Christmas typical brings.

So this Christmas I have to make up for last year and decide which of Craig's family's stuff we will keep and which of mine we will and start all the traditions that we want to start ourselves and all from nothing - ornaments, stockings - we don't have anything!. And not be stressed. So that is why I am starting very very early. So, it makes sense to be talking about Christmas in October. It does. Just not to Craig who went I brought it up, looked at me like I was an alien talking about some celebration they have for their big purple monster friend. "Christmas, what is this Christmas?" I guess that part of his brain doesn't kick in until December.

All that and we finally get to my point - WFMW is backwards this week, we are supposed to ask a question and you guys are supposed to tell me what works for you. So - how do you handle the holidays ? Do you have a lot of traditions or just kinda wing it each year? How did you merge your traditions with your spouse's? And how do you not get stressed out thinking about it?


  1. I've been with my husband for 13 years now and still have issues with this. /sigh I also have two kids... one who is 7 and one who is 5.

    Maybe this year I'll go over my traditions and add a few that I would like. It's about time.

  2. christmas is about jesus? you might want to mention that to wal*mart.

  3. in all seriousness, i am jealous of you. it seems that once you get married and have kids, you feel like you have to divide your time between your family and his family. NOT SO. i vote for making your own traditions.

    paul and i have been merging traditions as he has his kids and i have mine. we have dinner at our house. we stay HOME on christmas. i do make brunch on christmas morning, usually waffles.

  4. This is long; hope it helps!

    It is hard to merge Christmas traditions with the thought that it is all about Jesus. Married for 28 years, raised two kids, and have tried a variety of things in that time.

    The most meaningful holiday traditions for our family have not occurred on the actual day, but earlier in the month when we volunteered together at the Salvation Army helping to prepare the food baskets.

    Gifts are always tricky, and a tradition that can really stress people out. If I have time to make them, I do. If I can't think of anything to give, I don't, or else I donate to Heifer Intl. in their honor. Heifer has an awesome gift card that you can order when you give, explaining the incredible outreach they have feeding the poor around the world.

    Decorations: One year we decided that the Christmas tree and all the trappings detracted from the idea that it is really to celebrate Christ. It was the worst Christmas ever! At that point we decided that while Christ is the reason for the season, there are just too many non-related traditions to avoid unless you live in a cabin in the woods and don't ever see anyone!

    So, depending on the amount of help I have, our house may sport one, two or even three decorated trees in various rooms. I haven't really spent all that much on decorations; by working at Hobby Lobby, I was able to get things at 50-90% off, including a fully decorated tree one year. I also hosted a ton of House of Lloyd parties when a friend was a distributor, and got hundreds of dollars worth of stuff for free.

    Outside decorations usually only consist of a wreath on the front door and an advent wreath banner. We discovered early in our marriage that Ornery doesn't "do" outdoor Christmas lights with a good attitude, so to save our marriage, we compromised and decided to just enjoy everyone else's!

    Each year since the kids were little, we would purchase one ornament for each of us. When the kids left home, they took their accumulated ornaments with them. The ornaments for the whole family usually followed a theme or else related to what they were "into" at the time.

    Cards and Gifts: To me, giving gifts to those who bless me all year is one of the highlights of the season. For years we have baked literally thousands of cookies which we package and give to our bank, mail carrier, hair dresser, vet, various small shop owners we deal with regularly, and coworkers. Some years we would print out the recipes and attach them to the gift, others just a handmade card. My mom used to bake pies for all the neighbors, and to her, that was the highlight of the season.

    As for greeting cards, this seems to be something that is going by the way, but is one of the most meaningful traditions to me. I always write a newsy letter and copy it, include photos if I have them, sometimes write a poem, and hand-write a personal note at the end of the letter. Don't bother just sending store-bought cards with your names imprinted or signed; it's a waste of money and energy! This connection will remind your friends and family afar that you still exist, and that you are thinking of them. I start on mine early to avoid the last minute pressure. If I don't get them out on time, I don't worry. A late card means I extended the holiday season for someone and my card will get more than the cursory glance afforded others whose cards arrived at the busiest season of the year!

    Looking at all these things, I suppose they can all point back to Christ in a way. Giving of ourselves, our time and our thoughts, blessing others, creating beauty, entertaining in a warm and loving environment are all things we should do as Christians. If it takes a commercialized holiday for us to remember to do it, so be it!