There have been Christmases that haven’t been easy. I’d be lying if I didn’t ever speak about the hard times. It was never because of a lack of work on either of our parts, it was simply that making ends meet involved a lot of stretching with very little wiggle room.
Lucky for us, we have both been blessed with the gift of creativity, and we’ve learned through our own experiences that “necessity is the mother of invention”. So in the past we’ve stitched and sewn, welded and painted many treasures to gift to hopeful faces. And here’s what gets me…
Those gifts were the most well-loved, happily taken care of things we’ve ever given to our children. They didn’t leave them laying around, letting them be swept up to be discarded. They didn’t lose the pieces or forget about them when they were kicked under the couch.
You see, when you make something for someone else, you gift your loved one your own energy. Throughout the creation of that lifeless thing, you become the energy source, budding with ideas and your finger tips your conduit. And then, when a child tears open the wrapping to find a special doll, made for her by her very own Mama, that doll takes on a life of her own. She is carried to picnics and parks. She travels to the coast and she climbs trees and bakes cookies. She becomes part of the family.
Now, here I sit, years later, with just a little more money than we had during those hard Christmases, not a lot by anyone else’s standards, but enough, in our eyes, for things to be easier. As I count the purchases I’ve made through clicks or debit card swipes, I can’t help but notice they don’t fill the hole that’s inside of me.
What I’ve learned is this…Christmas magic comes from the story that carries it. It comes from how hard you’ve worked to save up to buy that special toy, or how you searched until you found it in your price range. Maybe you’ve been holding onto it since March.
The magic comes from the things that arn’t so easy.
The hard Christmases taught me the most about these things, and although I wouldn’t want to go back to that kind of uncertainty, I wouldn’t trade those years and lessons for riches either because they taught me about generosity and patience, love, friendship and peace. These are lessons that many people will, never understand. They taught me to see beauty in the smallest of places and to love bigger and bolder than I ever have because that is the truest gift I have to offer.
Angry Christmas Tree Day is a tradition that began over 10 years ago when we, just a small family of three, would venture into the woods, the way I did as a child, to harvest and bring home a beautiful tree. This loving family who welcomed me in, Papa Bear and Big Brother, had already established a tradition of an artificial tree, or a store bought tree, but neither of them were partial to any tree-ventures the way I was, and so I knew I was lucky when they agreed to a winter’s tree-gathering hike.
A lovely idea isn’t it? A small family, a snowy December day, birds singing a jolly tune, and a fragrant woodsmoke enticing our noses. Together we’d hold hands and frolic. We’d agree, exactly on THE tree, cut it down with a few magical saw strokes, drag it home like a feather, and decorate it. Just like that.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…You must have known I was joking when I said hold hands and frolic?!
We have argued for 9 out of 11 tree adventures. Sometimes in the beginning, sometimes while setting up the tree (NO! I SAID TO THE LEFT!!!), and always when it comes time to decorate. There have been arguments over how big the tree should be. We’ve fought over who should carry the tree and how to best set it up…where to set it up…who was supposed to water it, and always, always who strings the lights and exactly how much of the decorating are grownups allowed/expected to partake in. Sometimes Big Brother had already set up a tree with his mom, so he wasn’t interested in taking part twice, and I can hardly say I blame him.
After all of this, somehow we’ve persevered. Unlike so many things in our lives that we’ve shed, simply because they weren’t working, we’ve held onto this one….
Perhaps because even though the struggle is real, so are all the good feels that do make their appearances…
So without any more stories …. photos from our 2 year streak, non-angry Yuletree adventure….
More to come…