Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why I decorate when I do

You know, Thanksgiving is a time where we come together and express what we are grateful for. It is a special time of year where we can reflect on our blessings and the way God has shown Himself to us over the year. 
Psalm 100:4 instructs us to "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name." While we should do this every day, we have the special time of Thanksgiving set aside to do as the Psalm instructs. Christmas is a beautiful time to celebrate Jesus' birth. We enjoy the spirit of family, the joy of tradition, and the bustle of the holiday seasons. I love these months and these seasons. They embody some of the values I hold most dear and are full of tradition and love. 

I decorate my house for Christmas in mid-November. I assure you it does not make me any less grateful; in fact, I would argue it makes me more so. There are many reasons for my decorating before the Thanksgiving holiday, and I want to share three with you now. 

First, I want to experience the fullness of my holiday season. We decorate big. I mean, I have a minimum of three trees. I begin stressing about the decorating and enjoying the season in late October. (I know I'm OCD. Leave me alone.) if I am certain that my house is fully decorated and the majority of my Christmas shopping is done, then I am in a much better frame of mind as I enter into the season of reflecting on my blessings and giving thanks. It is one way for me to clear my head to focus on what is important--clearing the proverbial clutter, as it were. 

Second, I want to enjoy my decorations for longer than two weeks. It may be silly, but I take pride in my decor. Summer decorations get three months, fall gets 2-3 months, winter goes from January to early March. My spring decor even gets three months. So, the decor that I spend the most money on and love the most should only be up for less than a month?! Blasphemy! It takes me at least a solid week to decorate for Christmas. If I waited until the week after Thanksgiving, then my decorations would be up for two weeks before I took them down. Again-my most expensive and expansive seasonal decor. No way! I want to enjoy it fully (this may or may not be why I've waited until mid-January to take my trees down. I just love them so much.) 

Finally, I worked retail for many years. Thanksgiving day began the most insane time of my year. I worked crazy hours (often midnight until 4 pm on Black Friday). If I did not have my Christmas decor taken care of before that, it would simply not get done. While I don't work those hours anymore, I learned during that time just how precious the hours with loved ones during the holidays are. If I can get decor up, shopping done, and gifts wrapped, then I have more uninterrupted time with the people I love. And that, my friends, is my goal. 

Friends, you may disagree with me and that is totally fine, but this is what works for me. It makes my holiday season full of gratitude and joy rather than stress and anxiety! 

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