We broke tradition this year and for someone who is all about traditions, this was a big deal. But at the same time, it didn't feel like a big deal. It just felt right.
Yes, it's true. We purchased and put up our Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.
We love Christmas---the anticipation! the decorations! the traditions!---and I will always be an advocate for Thanksgiving having its moment before Christmas celebrations move in. But then I looked at my calendar and realized that December (most people's crazy month) was actually shaping up to be a breeze compared to September/October/November and gosh, how much joy that brought me! And then my husband suggested getting our tree at the very beginning of Thanksgiving break and I was sold.
And guess what...? I don't know if we'll ever be able to go back to getting it after Thanksgiving. The magic of Christmas brings me so much joy. I can't adequately explain how much good those twinkling, cozy lights do for my soul. You might think that sounds a bit dramatic but, going back to my last blog post, your physical environment has a significant effect on your mental and emotional well-being. This feels like a good moment to be completely honest with you. Decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving isn't a totally new thing for us, but doing this much decorating and getting our main tree is new for us. I've talked about these trees before but in case you haven't heard, we have a total of four trees at Christmas (three fake and one real). Two of those trees are home to our Starbucks Christmas ornaments collection. This year marks our fourth year putting those two trees up in early/mid November. Our first year? 2016--the day after the presidential election. (Don't worry. I'm not getting political.) There was such a deep feeling of divide and heaviness and strong emotions across our country and all I wanted was to bring some joy and light to that time. Some of you are like, "Really? Christmas trees made you feel better about the political climate?" And the answer is yes and no. Of course Christmas trees can't solve our problems but my home is my escape, my breath of fresh air in the midst of a tough world and tough life stuff. So you know what? Those twinkly lights added a bit more joy to our lives and I think that if I/you/we paid more attention to the things that bring us joy, we would notice such a positive improvement in our daily lives.
Back to this year's Christmas tree. It brings me so much joy and I find myself wondering how I can bring some of that joy along with me into the rest of the year. Of course, part of what makes Christmas so wonderful is that it's different from the rest of the year but if I could somehow weave these feelings into the ordinary days, how special would that be? 2019 has been a weird year. It has been nothing at all like I expected it to be, most notably being health issues that started in the beginning of 2019 and are following me into 2020 (but hopeful for healing!) and a somewhat unexpected but incredibly necessary new home purchase that has drastically improved our quality of life. (Maybe I'll write about that sometime...)
It's interesting how something that seems minute can have such a major impact. I know that not everyone finds Christmas as magical as I do, for one reason or another. It can be a reminder of what you wish you had, someone you are missing, or many other things. No matter what emotions this season brings for you, find something that brings you joy, even if it's just a moment of joy. I loved these suggestions that I read on someone's Instagram post: Check in with a friend. Go to a fitness class. Take a walk. Call a loved one. Blast your favorite song. Celebrate the little things.
Speaking of songs....as a reward for reading through all my ramblings, I would be remiss to not share my current favorite Christmas music albums!
- Michael Buble--Christmas (forever and always--it's our very first album we play every year! Tradition! Ha!)
- Andy Williams--The Andy Williams Christmas Album
- Meredith Andrews--Receive Our King
- Leslie Odom, Jr.--Simply Christmas
- Lauren Daigle--Behold
- Sam Smith's version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (favorite Christmas song!)
My challenge for you: Find something that brings you joy.
Until next time. Merry Christmas to you and yours!