Do you know that beautiful, even magical place right before the holiday when the work (or, at least the tasks you decided you had to accomplish) is behind you and you can begin to relax and enjoy? Are you there?
If not, finish up what must be done, and get about enjoying your family and the tree lights, the holiday movies and carols, the festive food and drink… and take time to savor and reflect upon the true and eternal gift of Christmas.
I discovered a site that has lots of fun and meaningful information about Christmas. You will find the story of Christmas and resources for kids. There is history and cultural information as well.
Mom, if you’re reading, this would have been a great place for information for our international Christmas celebrations. For readers, my mom had us “traveling” to a different country for our Christmas time together for about fifteen years. We visited Holland, Finland, Ireland, Brazil, Guatemala, Greece, Italy, and several other countries, Mom preparing activities, food, and entertainment connected with the customs of Christmas in whichever country we were recognizing that particular year. It was fun and educational!
So, here’s the site, which appears to be developed by a man who is a Christmas super-fan and a Christian:
Now, speaking of Christmas traditions, here’s one that seems to be growing more popular with Missourians every year. We have Branson, and it is a wonderful place to visit during the holidays. Branson, and specifically the Silver Dollar City Christmas Season, is completely patriotic and American, but it is also wholly Christian.
My family visits most years over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is sort of our official kick-off to the Christmas season. On our most recent, I took photos of some very cool trees. I love themed trees like Will Ferrell (as Buddy) likes sugar. Though, I really like sugar, too.
Here’s an article that I wrote for Vista (a take-home paper published by Wesleyan Publishing House) a couple of years ago. I thought I would share it, along with my pictures from the Christmas store in Branson. And, whether your tree is sparkly or sparce, blingy or boring, enjoy!
Oh Tannebaum, Oh Tannebomb
I love designer Christmas trees. I’d enjoy one with red wire ribbon and cardinals. If not red and bird covered, I’d like gold and silver with lots of shiny balls and bling. Perhaps a miniature tree in my kitchen, decked out with tiny copper cooking utensils?
Truthfully, each year as I visit Christmas stores, I admire the fabulous, themed trees. They are color-coordinated works of art. Some are so stunning they look good even hung upside down. Imagine that! So, each year I lament that one day I will have a themed tree in addition to our humble Franz Family tree.
What our tree lacks in design, it makes up for in variety. There are airplanes and apples, reflective of the careers my husband and I have had in aerospace and education. There are a few pickles, symbolic of an old German tradition. Others are souvenirs from summer vacations, a pair of kopeli from Arizona and twin pirate ships from the Outer Banks.
Though it is not fashionable, it could be considered functional. If an accident occurred near the tree, it would double as a first-aid kit, countless cotton balls and tongue depressors made available by simply cannibalizing a few of my children’s handmade crafts.
Our tree is not couture or coordinated, but maybe that makes some sense. There is symmetry in the fact that this secular symbol of Christmas is humble and simple. After all, our holy symbols reflect the humble and simple scene of Christmas. As we place our nativities around our home we are reminded of the birth of Jesus, which was anything but fancy. It was, however, beautiful and designed to perfection.
Have a Blessed Christmas!