Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Operation Christmas Tree

Not a creature was stirring...
Our holiday preparations started last Friday, when I dragged Nathan with me to Home Depot to help purchase a fresh cut Christmas tree. The nice folks there bagged our selection and tied it to the top of my car, leaving us with the simple task of carrying it into the house and securing it into our stand, purchased for 75 per cent off at the after-Christmas sales last year.

I kept the tree watered all weekend, hoping to decorate it on Sunday. But somehow the days slipped away from me and I wasn't able to find a moment to put the lights and the star on until this morning.

Tonight after I finished teaching Nathan and I finally got around to hanging the ornaments. So many memories!

Seattle Space Needle. Thanks, Cindy B!
Josh and Casey. I miss those days.
One of our Christmas Craft Day projects from our homeschooling years.
A tag from a Christmas gift I received from one of my very first piano students back in Peoria, Illinois.
An ornament given to me by a piano student just today. Thank you, Hope!
A souvenir from a cruise vacation. Nathan and I agree that this is one of our favorites.
A gift from my dorm-mate. Thanks you, Robbin!
Nathan pointed out that 1979 was a long time ago. I guess it was, but in some ways it really doesn't seem like it.
A beaded ornament created by one of my oldest and dearest friends. She has given my children and me ornaments for Christmas as long as I have known her. Thanks, Cindy J! 
I hope that next year I will be able to see my way clear to spring for a 7-8' tree, because we have so many ornaments there wasn't room to hang them all. Rather than drive ourselves crazy, we stopped even though the second box was only half unpacked. I think you will agree we made the right decision.

I have purchased a few small gifts and made greeting cards, but that is the extent of my holiday preparations otherwise, and quite a departure from the extravagances of years past. But just because I have always done something is not enough reason to continue; as my circumstances change, so does my concept of what is most important. And as I seek to let go of perfectionism in other areas of my life, I am letting go if it here. This year, I choose to focus, one at a time, simply on those activities that bring me comfort and joy. Today, it was the Christmas tree. It's not going to make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but it makes me happy every time I walk by and inhale its woodsy scent and see all the treasures hanging from its boughs. 

Is there anything you can let go of in order to have more time and energy for the most important things?


Eliwrites said...

Pam, I love your tree and your thoughts.

I have suffered from perfectionism over the years, so I definitely understand where you are coming from. One thing I have worked on for years and am trying to get some of my friends to let go of is lopsided relationships. I am not talking anything as obvious as verbal or physical abuse. I am talking about the "friend" who never has time for you unless they need something, the one that wants to get together, but is always late, talking on the phone to their other friends, or always wants their friends along. These people are not friends, but leeches. They suck away your time, frustrate, cause friction with others among many other things. So my suggestion is: Sit down with them. Explain that you want to be friends, but you see friendship as a give-and-take relationship. Ask them what they expect. If they don't match in the least or the person can only snap defensively, think about building up the true friendships you do have and don't pick up the phone the next time they call.

S.M. Carrière said...

Letting go is by far and large the hardest thing to do.

I admire you so much! I'm in the process of letting go of a few things in order to make room for better things. We'll see how it turns out. It's rather scary, actually!

Pam Asberry said...

I've been there, Eli. Sometimes it's hard to see this clearly when you're in the middle of it, especially if you tend to see only the best in people. But while these friends people might have positive qualities, it is never enough to make up for their basic nature, which is to take without giving back. Thank you for sharing this insight. Happy Holidays!

Pam Asberry said...

I had a sense of that from reading your blog yesterday, S.M. I have no doubt that you are on the right track. Good luck as you navigate all these changes. I hope you are having a wonderful December!

Jennifer said...

I have been sick for 7 days - I have had to let go of EVERYTHING!
Seriously, though, I did do the Flylady thing a few years ago where I sat down with my family and asked what they loved and what they really didn't care about regarding Christmas. I was rather surprised at their answers! I have done this every year since, but the first year was a real eye opener. I have let go of certain traditions that had only been extra work and a chore for me that my family didn't really want. I had no idea until I asked...and instead of just letting those things go, we have replaced those chores with new traditions that include more fun and together time than we have ever had before. I have found that I am no longer "single handling" Christmas as I have always done in years previous, but that it is a family event. All I had to do was ask what they did and didn't want - no guilt for me. Talk about letting go! Who knew it would be SUCH an improvement?

Pam Asberry said...

Oh, Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear you are still sick! That Flylady is a wise woman, isn't she? Thank you for sharing her advice, something we all might benefit from paying attention to! Now get well soon and let's get together and knit one more time before Christmas, okay?

Melissa Crytzer Fry said...

What a LOVELY post and great idea to share with us what your various decorations mean; they all have stories, don't they? Like you, I have several boxes that no longer fit on the tree.

But I love the core of your message: to stop, take note of the important things, and live one moment at a time. Lovely post!

Pam Asberry said...

Yes, Melissa, every ornament has a story. These were random selections, but I could have gone on and on. Each represents a moment that can never be recaptured, which makes them even more precious. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I wish you much joy this month and in the coming year!

Rainy Kaye said...

I refuse to get caught up in the holiday frenzy. It's very select, but purposeful.

By the way, your tree looks cute. =)

Pam Asberry said...

You are very wise, Rainy. Thank you for visiting my blog! :-)