Christmas isn’t Christmas without decorations. Whether you start trimming the tree on Christmas Eve, or the day after Thanksgiving, there is a time of celebration about transforming our homes to welcome baby Jesus. The lights always take the longest to hang. Each year I debate just buying a new string, rather than trying to figure out which bulbs need to be replaced or how to untangle the strings, which amazingly weren’t tangled when I packed them the year before. Then it’s time to open the boxes of ornament. Some ornaments have their own story. I have a few from my childhood which must go on the tree first. My son made a few while he was in Elementary school and those are placed next. After that, the delicate glass ornaments are unwrapped, hooks replaced, and items are placed all around the tree.
Growing up, my mom was the one who completed the decoration of the tree. She hung the tinsel because no one else could do it correctly. And finally, we knew the tree was done when she placed candy canes on it. Then it was time to decorate the rest of our house. Stockings, bearing each family member’s name were placed on the fireplace mantle. The miniature nativity scene, delicately wrapped in tissue paper, replaced the coffee table centerpiece. Angel statues also appeared. And as Christmas cards arrived, each one would be placed in the front window to add a holiday greeting for people walking through the neighborhood.
One of my favorite decorations is the Advent Calendar that counts down the days until Christmas. Little doors are opened each day with a different surprise inside to tell (or retell) the Christmas story.
For me, the best decoration of all is a blanket of snow. I can’t say why it is a necessary part of the best Christmas for me. It just is. Maybe it’s the way the light sparkles on a new snowfall. Or the wonderful stillness that a winter night brings. The snow helps to set the stage for Christmas caroling, hot cocoa or spiced cider, sleigh rides, sled outings and of course……making snow angels. May each of you have a joyous Christmas season. Rejoice in the birth of our Lord and Savior. And Amen.