“You know, humans are weird. I’m here, in a city, carrying a tree from outside, so I can take it inside. All because 2000 years ago, God was born. And the weirdest part of that is totally not me or the tree.” – James
This week James and I went to pick up a little tree for our apartment. Despite the little size of our place, and of our tree stand, James kept trying to bring back a huge tree. Finally we settled for this one, a fat little tree that is just a little too big for our single strand of lights and meager collection of ornaments. The tree sellers in Eastern Market also let me collect a big bag of scraps that now cover the tops of all our shelves, intertwined with some festive red berries. It’s not exactly a Martha Stewart Christmas, but it’s cozy and we love it.
The funny thing about getting married and starting a new family is that you have to carve out new traditions. We can’t do things the way my family did, or the way James’ family did. Instead, we have to start our own things, have to figure out the way that we do things in this new family. Holidays bring this making of newness to the forefront.
Last year we started some new Christmas traditions. On the day we get our tree, we bring it back and decorate the apartment. We play our favorite Christmas music and make gingerbread cookies (slice and back here — let’s not get crazy) and then drink hot cocoa and eggnog while watching Elf. We rewind at all our favorite parts, laugh, and then turn off all the apartment lights when it’s over, just so we can sit in the feeble glow of our fat little tree. It’s not much, and it’s nothing fancy, but it’s ours.
But it also has me thinking about what traditions we will put in place to protect Christmas, to keep it from being just fun movies and beautiful trees. The craziest thing about Christmas isn’t all the silly traditions we put in place, but it’s the fact that we have a reason to celebrate Christmas at all, that God became flesh and dwelt among us.
What are some of your Christmas traditions?