This year I decided to do an experiment for the holidays. No holiday decorating or planning for me. Why, you might ask? It was really a test to see if I needed the decorations or not. To find out if I could be like the Who’s down in Who-ville who know that Christmas doesn’t come with ribbons and bows and trees and lights and parties and cookies, that Christmas is in our hearts.
I have always loved Christmas and have spent a lot of time decorating the house. Not just Christmas, but also Halloween and Thanksgiving too. I used to do decorating for all the holidays from Valentines Day to Easter to July 4th, and through the fall and winter holidays as well. Especially when the kids were little. Decorating is really more special when there are kids around and lots of family activities to do. As the kids got older and I got busier with other things, I stopped doing a lot of the holidays, but I always kept up with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Especially Christmas. Christmas has always been my very special favorite holiday of all time. And while I have cut back on a lot of my decorating, I do still like to deck out the house. It makes me smile to walk around and see all the decorations and lights and gifts.
So why would I decide not to decorate? The fact is, it takes a lot of time and energy and money to decorate the home, as well as do all the shopping and cooking, the cards and the entertaining. I feel like I have been so busy this past year with working on my business Blue Twig Studio, that I thought maybe I didn’t need to spend that extra time decorating and preparing for the holidays. Plus with the business and studio taking up space in the house, there isn’t a lot of room in my home to add in a tree and all the other decorations. In truth, I’ve always felt like I’m the only one that really cares about all of the hoopla with the holidays. I’m usually the one doing the majority of the decorating and the extra cooking and gift buying and such. Now my kids are grown and gone and have their own lives and I don’t have any grandkids and my husband always says he doesn’t care about such stuff. Not to mention that the dogs get a little freaked out about all the decorations. So all of the holiday stuff I do, is really just for me. And is that reason enough? Am I doing it all because I think it is expected of me to do it? Or do I really want to do it? I wasn’t sure anymore, thus the experiment.
I was starting to think that doing all the work and going through all the rituals of the holidays, just for me, wasn’t enough. That if there weren’t others around to share it all, that a lot of the fun and excitement was gone. The holidays are all about friends and family after all. And I was feeling like we just weren’t doing that much with other people to justify doing so much work on my part. I know, a lot of weak and faulty reasoning. I decided that this year I would forgo all of the decorating and such and see what happened. Did anyone even notice? Did I truly gain that extra time back? Would I miss the festive nature of having the house decorated? Would I still have that holiday spirit? Would I be the Grinch or the Who’s?
Here is what I have learned. Not having the house decorated is kind of sad to me. It is much harder to get into the holiday spirit without the extra hoopla and festivities. It is almost impossible to remember how many days are left til Christmas without the tree and lights and stockings up. And then there is the ritual of taking down the holiday decorations that signals the changing over to the New Year, and a time or renewal and fresh starts. I like that ritual.
One more thing I learned. It is really OK if I am the only one who enjoys the decorations and trimmings and holiday cooking and sharing of gifts and cards. Why should I give up what I really love and enjoy just because my hubby and the dogs don’t share my enthusiasm? I should do what I love and not feel guilty about how much it means to me. I really don’t want Christmas and all the decorating and cooking and festivities to go by the wayside.
I also learned that even though my hubby always says he doesn’t care about all the extra stuff, all the decorating and shopping and such, what he really means is that he doesn’t want me to have to do it if I don’t want to. But he still enjoys it. The day after I announced I wasn’t decorating, he hauled out some of the outside decorations to put on the porch. So he does like the hoopla, he just doesn’t want me to feel obligated to do it or feel guilty when I don’t do it.
It is true that Christmas is in our hearts. That Christmas comes no matter what. That we don’t need all the trimmings and hoopla to celebrate the holidays……but I sure like it a whole lot better with all the trimmings!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!