But for my family, we've been learning that everything is not about tradition - in fact, when we try to keep some of the more "traditional" traditions, God shows us that there is more to it than that. For Thanksgiving, all attempts to get a family get-together were thwarted, even simpler Plan B got sick.
For Christmas this year, we didn't have a tree. Yes, the shoe-maker's children were barefoot. Almost as soon as we brought in the fresh, fragrant garland and greenery into the house, my youngest sister and brother started showing signs of allergies.
So we were without a Christmas tree. But it doesn't stop there. ;)
My cousin also developed horrible allergies to the fir. So, on Christmas Eve, his older sister laid out a blanket and left a note:
We can't have a Christmas tree because of allergies.
Please leave the presents on the blanket.
Despite the sad lack of a tree in the house, Christmas was simply joyous. On Christmas Eve, my siblings and I exchanged the gifts for the person we drew ealier in December. I must admit, it was entertaining watching my sisters shopping for each other in the same stores at the same time. I figured out that Jake had drawn me; I predicted that I would get a Joann's gift card. Guess what I got? I was right. :) Little Eli shopped for himself while selecting his big brother's gift. The final choice? A nurf gun set with two guns - one for each of them. I think Eli was more excited than Jake when we exchanged gifts.
Christmas morning was simply wonderful. I think getting to sleep in 'til 8:30 helped. As I was waking up, the beautiful melody of 'O Holy Night' drifted through the house as my sister graced us with her piano playing. Doing animal chores seemed less tedious than usual - I also had to gather fresh eggs for the eggnong. Once I finished making the eggnog, everyone was up. Commence the breakfast making! Scrumptious bacon, broccoli, and mushrooms all went into the scrambled eggs. We also had fresh squeezed orange juice along with banana bread our neighbor had made for us.
We didn't get to the presents until almost noon, and that didn't bother us one bit. Ever since we were little, our parents instilled in us that Christmas was not about presents, but of the birth of our Savior. For as long as I can remember, before even touching the gifts, we have always read the New Testament account abotu the greatest gift given to man. It really doesn't matter what everyone received as under the 'Christmas tree', but we were together. It was also the first Christmas with Oma living on this side of the country. We played games, ate cookies, drank eggnog, enjoyed each other's company, and rested from a crazy December.
I hope that all Christmases will be this wonderful for years to come. Merry Christmas to everyone!