I love coming home to my decorated home! I love savoring sweet memories when at look at the Christmas decorations that I brought from my childhood into my marriage with me. I love the familiarity of seeing the same things year after year, and the fun of adding a little something new each year. I read my friend Amy's blog today, though, and remembered a Christmas when I didn't have any of those things. Amy and her husband are on a longterm business trip that has them living in a different state for several months. All of their Christmas decorations are back home. Amy has a great attitude, but I also understand how sad she is inside. Let me reflect for a moment.
It was December 1, 2005. We were living in a wonderful, but very tiny (500 sq. ft.) mountain cabin. It had 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. Snapper slept on the couch in the living room because there wasn't room for her in our tiny bedroom. I had just found out I was pregnant with Pepper, and I was sick, sick, sick! When it came time to get a Christmas tree and decorate, we realized that our boxes of decorations were buried deep in our storage unit. It didn't take long for us to decide that getting the boxes out wasn't worth our effort. The house was too tiny for decorations, anyway. And oh, how my heart mourned! I moped a bit for a few days. And then it occurred to me that Christmas is still Christmas without decorations. After all, what, or rather, who, is Christmas about anyway?
Attitude sufficiently checked, I began thinking about how I could make this Christmas beautiful and special without the decorations. It ended up being very special. I remembered something my mom used to say: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" And that is just what I did. With a budget of $30, I headed out to the store. 2 days later, our little cabin sported a 2-foot-tall Douglas Fir, all covered with strung popcorn and cranberries, a cheap string of lights, and a construction paper star, sparkling with gold glitter glue. We made a paper chain and strung it over the door in the living room. I veered away from my normal mellow wrapping paper choice, and selected a bold paper and sparkly bows. Since I didn't have our advent wreath, I made a temporary one out of 4 cheap taper candles and yard clippings. It was beautiful. It didn't cost us much at all. And we had fun making it all!
As I look back on that Christmas, I don't remember missing my decorations. Instead, I cherish memories of holding 3-year-old Snapper in my lap and helping her string popcorn. I fondly recall our simple, little tree, and how the tree and bright paper brought light and extra pizzazz to our little home. Mostly though, I remember how the unimportant things faded away. It was a simple, beautiful Christmas, and I will never forget it.
I still have that sparkly paper star. It hangs on our Christmas tree as a reminder to keep Christmas simple, and place Christ in the center.