I threw out some traditions this year, along with ornaments and signs of the season I had felt obligated to keep for far too long. Well, I didn't throw them out, exactly. I took them to Goodwill. They will adorn someone else's trees and mantles.
My children were not keen on the idea, at first. In fact there was "wailing and gnashing of teeth" as we packed some familiar (albeit tacky) things to send on. It was slightly torturous. Why go through this at all?
Our Christmas decorations had gotten out of hand. They also did not represent, in the least, who we are. Too fussy, too "frou frou." I was begging for simplicity.
A mantle. A nativity. A tree. That's what six Rubbermaid containers became. The tree got an overhaul. If ornaments were not handmade, or had nothing to do with art or nature, they went. The mantle is stockings, stocking holders that spell "peace," and very simple candles. Even the overdone Victorian wreath for the door was replaced by a grapevine and glitter star.
This is us. We love art, nature, and simplicity. We recognize that the holiday has gotten, like our decorations, completely out of hand.
Making our decor more humble seemed to fit the idea of a simple stable, a messy manger. God appearing in lowly human form. It also took away some of the pressure to make it all look "postcard perfect."
Maybe it was selfish. I do get the greatest pleasure out of seeing my tree adorned with glitter pine cones and popsicle stick Stars of David.