It seems like there is a running joke about people who put their Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. I can understand their side but I also understand the other side. For the past decade I have put my Christmas tree up the week after Halloween and here is why…
I suffer from clinical depression.
My 15-year-old sister passed away from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy in 2006 – two weeks after my 17th birthday. I struggle deeply with the holiday season. Honestly if I didn’t have any children I probably wouldn’t even put up a tree but I do it for them to enjoy. I dread pulling it out every year. Another year I am reminded that my sister will not be with our family.
Here are some things that I focus on during the holidays to bring me joy when I do not feel so excited.
Remembering What We’re Thankful For
During the month of November I ask my daughter to tell me everyday what she is thankful for. I read her books about Thanksgiving and I talk to her about being thankful for the things that we have. I cut out a bunch of squirrels, leaves, turkeys, and pumpkins and each day I write what she tells me she is thankful for on one of the cut outs. I then tape the paper to the back of our front door so we can see the things she is thankful for on a daily basis.
When my son was little I did something similar with him but we lived in an apartment at the time. The front door to our apartment was inside of a building so that time I made a Thanksgiving Tree and we put what he was thankful for on paper leaves and displayed it on the front side of our door so our neighbors could see it.
Putting Up My Christmas Tree Early
Yes, I dread pulling it out but once the kids and I have assembled it, strung the colorful lights, and hung our personal ornaments – I love it. I enjoy sitting in front of my Christmas tree with just the Christmas lights on while sipping on a cup of eggnog or hot chocolate. I enjoy teaching my kids how to fan out the fronds of the branches and sing Christmas songs while we work on the tree – just like my mom did.
I always string the lights and I let my kids hang the ornaments. Our discussions center around where our ornaments came from, like a stroll down memory lane. The ornaments aren’t always hung how I would have placed them but I have lowered my standards A LOT with each additional kid. I do try to adjust the ornaments to where my breakables are at the top and the ones that the little kids can touch and play with are at the bottom.
Bake Holiday Desserts
Whether it is a pumpkin roll or Snickerdoodle cookies – baking is good for my soul. What I also love about baking is that not only is it a fun process, but also the end result is usually pretty good too.
Start Shopping Early
This year I bought one of my kids’ first Christmas presents in August. I love seeing them happy when they receive something they’ve asked for (or with surprises). I want to encourage you, the next time you have some spending money, buy a gift for someone else. Isn’t it a great feeling? I certainly don’t overdo it with gifts to my children on Christmas because that is not what Christmas is all about, but we do gift them with a few things that they need or want.
I enjoy seeing the Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals. I like being able to stay in my warm car and drive through the light displays with my kids. We usually try to go to CiCi’s Pizza nearby for dinner and then go see the lights. It’s a nice family December tradition.