One of the best parts of this time of the year is the handful of days we spend decorating our house for Christmas. All of us are involved in the process, even our littlest one, who struggles with the hand-eye coordination needed to put ornaments on the tree.
My oldest child and I spend hours digging through the crawlspace for that one last box of items that has the tree-topper on it.
Sarah digs out the rolls of wrapping paper picked up just after Christmas the year before and digs into the process of getting items wrapped.
Our four year old dives deeply into making homemade snowflakes and Christmas trees to decorate the windows with.
We pop a bunch of popcorn and string them together for the tree, using a few dried cranberries in the middle to brighten it up with some color.
Our children try to learn the words of Christmas songs and we end up consulting Wikipedia to show them exactly what “wassail” is.
The warmth that makes this time so much fun isn’t that it’s Christmas. Christmas is just a motivator for what makes it so enjoyable.
The real joy of this season comes from the time spent together. It comes from projects that are done with the goal of bringing joy to others and to the whole family.
It’s not about spending money. It’s not about indulging in expensive things. It’s about people and time and memories.
Compared to this, the actual Christmas gift exchanges and presents are really an afterthought. I’d gladly swap anything I’ll receive this year for an afternoon or an evening spent with this kind of family bonding.
A lot of families know exactly what I’m talking about here. It’s part of the “Christmas magic.”
Here’s the really powerful thing, though. It does not have to just be “Christmas magic.”
There’s no reason not to do the same thing all throughout the year. You can do the same type of activities in January (winter decorations), February (valentines), March (springtime), April (Easter), May (gardening), June (summer), July (Independence Day), August (back to school), September (early fall), October (Halloween), and November (Thanksgiving). T
There is always a good reason to spend time together as a family, doing things like making homemade decorations, eating foods you make yourself, engaging in activities together.
It is so easy to fall into a routine of keeping the “special” family moments for the holidays and allowing so much of the rest of the year to focus on other things, things that are often expensive and focused away from the people who matter the most to you.
I say, why bother? There’s never a bad night to go home and make a homemade decoration for your home. There’s never a wrong time of the year to learn how to do something new. There’s always a great opportunity to go home and make a delicious homemade meal.
All you have to do is choose the life you want to live.