As the new year settles in and Christmas begins to fade away, I began the process of restoring my home back to the way it looked before. It's hard for me to take things away that bring such warmth and magic to a season in my life and I realized that my children are starting to feel the same way.
After a day of taking Christmas decorations down, which included tossing out the tattered, barely hanging on, Gingerbread Houses that my children made and had been moved around multiple times in addition to being licked by a few curious dogs walking by, I briefly ran out to the store and returned home only to find one of the houses back on the kitchen island. When I questioned where it came from, my oldest son replied, "Mom, you're taking down Christmas!" I wasn't expecting to hear that from an almost 18 year old boy, but the minute his words spilled out, I knew exactly how he felt. The feelings that Christmas produces are so joyful that we want them to last forever. And these small reminders that come from warmly lighted candles, garland, gingerbread houses and twinkling lights, all add to that joy.
I recently read an article that a friend of mine wrote on this very idea of keeping Christmas alive in our homes all year long. For her family, continuing to light candles every night beyond the advent season extends that same intimate feeling that Christmas naturally brings. Reading her words along with hearing my own children express their need for the season to linger on got me thinking.
What if I looked at Christmas as the beginning of the season instead of the end? Maybe if I approached it with anticipation as the start of great things instead of the finish, they would too. I'm always trying to cram in everything before Christmas, but why? It's no wonder we feel a small let down when its over because it has been such a whirlwind leading up to it. I never purposefully allow for anything else to occur after the fact. Maybe I could slow down and spread things out a bit. Let some things bide into the coming year.
This season I ran out of time and some of the things we are prone to do before the holiday, we did in the days after!
It was great!
It made me ask myself why I don't intentionally do that every year? Not only would it make the time leading up to Christmas less stressful, but it would also create a sense of excitement for things to come.
Continuing to light candles and planning extended activities are just some ways to look forward to the dawn of what's still ahead. Keeping that small piece of Christmas with me even when it's officially over may not come from a tangible item or action, but rather my attitude. Moving into a new year doesn't mean leaving behind the things we loved in the previous one. Instead it's about moving forward with a healthy perspective, choosing to keep the spirit of Christmas with us everyday, in everything we do.
I'm excited for the New Year. I don't like focusing on the past because I've already conquered it, even if it was messy, I made it! Every new day and year is a wonderful gift, so it's important that I show up for it with the same eagerness and expectations that Christmas brings. I am excited to fill in the blank pages before me.
Christmas is over, BUT an incredible New Year has already begun. And even though my house no longer reflects the season to it's fullest, it's more important that my heart does. I pray that you have good health, happiness and peace in this new year and welcome this New Day as your New Beginning for incredible things to come!