our tree this year has a garland fashioned from leftover wedding bells...
Last year, I had surgery for Christmas. The surgery took place on December 5, so it thoroughly knocked out the whole month.
As a result, I did very little in the way of traditional preparations and celebrations in December.
At the same time, we'd lost our children in a westward move. Suddenly, for the first time ever, there were no Christmas parties, no Christmas concerts, no Christmas cookie exchanges. We did not need to dig out the old Santa hat, not even once, which was a good thing, since I don't think it made it here from New York.
In the end, the kids came home. Jon and Lulu procured for us a funny little furry tree.
Shannon made cookies. There were family meals, and gifts (haha, we just gave them envelopes of cash) and Christmas carols.
What I'm trying to say is, Christmas came anyway. Like the Whos down in Whoville, we celebrated Christmas with very little embellishment, but it was lovely just the same.
No, we didn't feast on rich foods, or fill two dumpsters with remnants of wrapping paper. I did not send cards. The outside of our home was unadorned. In fact, we didn't even have a solid church affiliation at the time, although I'm not sure how much it mattered, as churches here, unlike in New York, do not major in Christmas Eve services.
What do you "need" to have Christmas?
Rock bottom, all you need is your Bible open at Luke 2 and a grateful heart.
If you want just a smidge more than that, try for a little tree, simply decorated, or a few boughs of evergreen. A candle or two, lit. A recording of Christmas hymns. Maybe a candy cane. Voila! Christmas.
I was deeply encouraged last year, to see how little it actually requires to make Christmas swell in one's heart.
This year, I am enjoying "doing Christmas" more than I have enjoyed it in a very long time.
Take a year off now and then. Christmas will come just the same, and you'll be all the fresher the next time it rolls around!