Tag Archives: tradition

Christmas Thoughts: On Trees

21 Dec

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One of my favorite parts about getting ready for Christmas is decorating the tree. This year, we have a real 8-foot Fraser Fir, but every other year that Travis and I have been married, we’ve had a 3-foot pre-lit tree that we just pulled out of the box and plugged in. There are benefits and drawbacks to either real or fake, I think. The fake ones look a little too nice to be real, but they are convenient, economical and much less messy. The real ones are fun to pick out and smell good, but ornaments are often too heavy for their branches and they are needle-dropping factories.

The best part about either kind of tree, though, is the ornaments you put on them. And in my opinion, the best part about ornaments is not whether they color-coordinate or match, but the memories they bring to mind. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a hodge-podge tree full of ornaments that had been gifted, made or were unique in some way, but I personally prefer a tree full of memories and not-so-perfect ornaments than a tree that looks like it belongs in the mall or Martha Stewart magazine. Though those trees definitely have their place too!

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Travis’ mom bought him an ornament every year when he was growing up and wrote the year on it. When he got married, we inherited his collection, so that makes up 80% of our ornaments right now. There’s only one creepy ornament that I could do without – a boy wearing a stocking hat and singing.

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Am I right?

I liked Travis’ family’s tradition so much that we’re going to do the same thing with our kids. Emma’s ornament last year was the token “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament.

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For Travis and me, I buy a picture frame ornament every year that either includes the year or I write it on. The picture I put in is a highlight of the previous year.

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Right now, our tree is at least half decorated with standard red, blue, white and green balls but I look forward to all the new memories that we’ll collect and hang up over the years with fun and unique ornaments – even the very-homemade ones contributed by Emma and her siblings. 😉

40 days without chocolate

6 Feb

So like a lot of other Christians during the time of Lent, I decided to “give something up.” Even though I grew up in an Evangelical Lutheran church, my family didn’t really celebrate Lent. I do remember getting a wooden cross at the beginning of Lent and every Sunday leading up to Easter, getting another piece to add to the scene–some nails, a sponge for the wine, a pair of dice, a thin strip of purple cloth. We didn’t get a tiny crown of thorns though…maybe they considered it dangerous for little kids.

But I like the idea of celebrating the traditional church holidays. I mean, we celebrate Advent, why not Lent? The church that Travis and I attend out here doesn’t celebrate Lent though. At least, it doesn’t have an Ash Wednesday service tonight. I had kind of wanted to go. I even contemplated going to some random Lutheran church around here but that might just be weird. Add to that the fact that I don’t really agree with Lutherans’ theology either. Hmmm…

So the thing I am doing for Lent is giving up chocolate. I figure, it’s as much of a vice as any other. I eat chocolate like it’s going out of style. I know that I will have pangs of desire for chocolate during the next 40 days. So instead of eating chocolate (or just substituting another indulgence, like ice cream), I am going to use the time I would spend eating chocolate to commune with God. And whenever I am reminded that I can’t have chocolate, even though I really want some, I will be reminded that this world is not where I belong and I am bound for a better one.

Losing weight wouldn’t be bad either…