We are so excited to feature writer, Robin Evans! It is such a blessing to have her share with us. She constantly is an encouragement to me personally. Her newsletter is a bright spot in my week. I always look forward it! Her website robineevans.com is definitely worth your time!
During the summer we did a series in which Robin was gracious enough to join us. Her article The Slow, Unscheduled Magic…was one of my favorites posts. I believe this one is just as exceptional. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Robin E. Evans
The Peaceful Holiday Series
I was a Christmas bride.
It wasn't by choice, mind you. I did not grow up dreaming of twinkle lights and poinsettias on my wedding day but that's what happens when you marry a teacher. You schedule the "I do's" during Christmas break.
A December wedding comes with some benefits, though. No worrying about my makeup running in the 95% humidity of Southern summers. Ceremony decor mostly covered by the usual Christmas decorations in the sanctuary. And little Christmas trees for table centerpieces bought half-off during Black Friday sales added the cutest touch to the reception.
But there are downsides too.
Specifically, the number of Christmas ornaments and nativity scenes received as wedding presents. I stopped counting the "Our 1st Christmas" ornaments at ten. The one with a champagne bottle that opened to a hundred dollar bill inside was obviously my favorite. Although being good Southern Baptists we opted to not hang that ornament on our tree for years. (HARD EYE ROLL)
As our Christmases together added up, our collection of stuff added up too. Being married to a teacher definitely contributes to Christmas decor stash. There were ornaments signed by students with little notes about how much they loved my husband (which may or may not have been true). Plus countless instrument ornaments that thankfully, don't play a single note.
Then we had our own kids and they practically came out of the womb making ornaments decorated with glitter and dried globs of Elmer's glue. But listen, the ornament with my son as Rudolf goes with me to the retirement home.
Hear that, Kids?
With all those ornaments and nativity scenes and Just Married snowglobes, I spent years decking the halls of our entire house. But with our babies came the stress of wondering exactly when they would pull the entire tree down on top of themselves as they attempted to reach the light up "Enterprise" ornament from my husband's childhood.
Live long and prosper, kids.
By not climbing the Christmas tree.
On our 17th Christmas, my attic stored for me... twelve heavy boxes, eleven hand towels, ten Just Married ornaments, nine strings of lights, eight plate chargers, seven family photos, six mini trees…Five Window Wreathes... four pre-lit garlands, three tablescapes, two fake trees, and a singing Santa by the mantel.
(Please tell me you sang that)
Our kids were getting older and anxious to "help" decorate for Christmas, begging to put every.single.one of their handmade ornaments on the tree. Only to take them off at various times during the season to play with them. You know, because their stuffed animals needed a necklace.
The entire situation became one big Wedgewood crystal ball of stress. Christmas turned in to something to stage, manage, and show off instead of a sweet time to cherish, celebrate, and give.
So I stopped.
I thought it would be more complicated than that, honestly. As if I needed to ask permission from the Elves or Danny Kay or HGTV to just do less.
But no. Turns out, Santa did not move me to his naughty list because I failed to put one of those left-over wedding reception Christmas trees next to the guest bathroom sink.
So boxes of gold and silver balls, delicate Our 1st Christmas treasures, and rolls of big, ornate ribbon for cascading down the tree stayed unpacked.
We started over.
The kids picked out a small pre-lit tree with the bright pink, green, blue, and yellow flashing lights and it fit snuggly next to the mantel.
My husband helped them buy a star for the top of the tree and no kidding, it's got a definite disco dancing vibe going on.
Together, the kids and I carefully selected hand-made treasures they'd created over the years, some favorites from my husband's childhood, and every one of their yearly ornaments from their Godmother for their psychedelic tree. Which they then hung all willy-nilly seemingly without one thought to symmetry or personal space.
My contribution was the red felt tree skirt from the Dollar Tree.
And stopping myself from rearranging their ornaments.
I restrained and edited and removed my own personal expectations of how Christmas had to look in favor of the bright, fun, loud Christmas my kids wanted.
And my family loved it.
A Christmas wedding was never my dream but two beautiful, sweet little faces giggling with delight as we hang ornaments together was absolutely the dream. I don't want them to remember the Pinterest perfect Christmas tree only Momma was allowed to decorate.
I'd much rather create memories together with their own tree and their own ornaments in their own favorite colors.
Holly Jolly, Y’all!