I think that the only time I enjoy the dark and cold of this time of the year is in the evening, as Christmas approaches. I enjoy the ‘feel’ of our old home, as it battles the cold and shields us from everything outside. I like the warmth of an occasional fire in the fireplace, the glow of candles, and the lights of the Christmas tree.
Lorna and I decided, months ago, to do what we could to simplify this best holiday of all, in our home this year. Presents have been intentionally trimmed back, therefore so has the stress of shopping. Our decorating has been lessened, as has the time and trouble of all of that. Likewise, the ‘undecorating of the week after the holiday should also be less painful than usual. Even our tree is much smaller than those of “Christmas’s past” in the Shuman household. (Who knows, maybe a small tree would make the fewer, smaller gifts look bigger, if that had been the goal, which it was not.)
I mentioned in my last column our attempts at returning to a Christmas celebration of simpler times. Our past few Christmas trees have been adorned with simple ornaments and strings of popcorn, as were those of many years ago. This year we have even attempted, with mixed success, to find ‘old fashioned’ gift wrap, and did find an antique-looking smaller treetop star for our little tree. (As someone slowly recovering from many years in the overdone Christmas’s of the retail world, these steps toward the simplification of our Christmas celebration just seem right to me.)
The weekend after Christmas our extended family, with our kids and their families, will gather together for a huge holiday meal, and that is always a wonderful time for us. Because of this, I would like to keep our actual Christmas Day dinner on the simpler side, as with the rest of the day. My vote is for a ham in the oven and a crockpot full of veggies, on that day. To me, in the case of possessions, celebrations, and even in the planning of meals, less is often more.
Yes, this year our family’s Christmas Day will probably be simpler and less exciting than some in years past. To me, that’s okay, and even comforting, somehow. Christmas Eve, especially, will be peaceful at our house, lit by candles and a twinkling star, and warmed by thoughts of the true meaning and miracle of what is to come… sort of like on that very first Christmas, long ago.