Before I married my husband (near Christmas) almost 16 years ago, his siblings warned me that he really loved Christmas.
"What do you mean by this?" I asked them. They warned me that Christmas is the one time of year when Elmer's creativity and decorating spirit come alive.
Okay, well, I have no problem with that.
But how has this played out in our marriage, in our lives together, you may ask?
I smile when I write tonight, thinking of what Christmas means to my husband.
According to him and a couple of his siblings, he had two specific events happen during Christmas in his childhood and young adulthood that were very negative, at least personally to him. I think he really wants to make each and every Christmas very special not only for himself, due to those past incidents, but also for our family. This doesn't mean that we spend a lot of money on each other, but it does mean that we spend a lot more time together making family memories and planning times for fun and laughter together.
And, since he also wants to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with gusto, this makes Christmas even more special for him.
So, what Christmas means in our household is that we always carry a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD in the car, and it can be popped in to the CD player at any given moment, no matter which month of the year it is! (I try to switch out the various Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs every few months, so I don't get tired of hearing them, although I also enjoy this group.)
It also means that while I write our Christmas letters and cards and plan out holiday foods and meals, I am very "hands off" when it comes to decorating our home.
In fact, since the day we married, I have hardly placed any Christmas ornaments on the tree, or hung garland, strung Christmas lights, or set up the nativity creche. Elmer loves to do this himself. It has been a stretch for him to allow the girls to help him, especially in their younger years, as he has always really enjoyed doing the Christmas decorating all by himself, and he is quite the perfectionist when it comes to having things arranged the way he wants them to be arranged. (You see why this was probably such a stretch for him when the girls were much smaller!)
Our first Christmas together was on Day 10 of our marriage, so I don't remember us doing much decorating at all. We may have had a tree in our tiny, 675 square foot triplex apartment, but it would have been one that I would have decorated before our wedding day. I think that was the last tree I decorated, if I'm truthful about it!
Since that first Christmas, I am still busy doing the Christmas shopping and wrapping, preparing Christmas cards and letters for mailing, meal planning and grocery shopping, and other odds and ends, but Elmer and the girls spend hours stringing up the outside Christmas lights, decorating the inside of the house, and more.
It is actually a relief to know that I'm not in charge of "everything" for Christmas anymore. If I was, there would be a lot fewer decorations placed up around our home, and only inside Christmas lights on the indoor tree and maybe on a couple of window sills. Already working as many hours as I do each day, I have very little time at the end of my day to squeeze in any more activities like extensive holiday decorating! I do, however, help him bring all of the Christmas decoration boxes out of the attic and then back into the attic after he has repacked them at the end of December. Especially when life at his job is stressful, he deserves a helping hand, and for that task, he willingly accepts it!
Because our anniversary is so close to Christmas, we have rarely celebrated it over the years, other than buy each other a small gift and a anniversary card. It's just such a busy time of year, that in some years when the girls were small and he was working nightshift, we didn't even go out to dinner together. But last year, as it was our 15th wedding anniversary, we decided to buy tickets to the Christmas 2009 Mannheim Steamroller concert which was taking place about an hour north of us in mid-December. We ended up with Row 4 seats, which meant that it was quite loud (eh?), but beautiful to see one of our favorite music groups close up and in person. Usually, we are very frugal with anniversary and birthday gifts for each other, but Elmer was enthusiastic about buying the tickets for this special concert! It was a big treat for us both, although we sure arrived back home late that night due to the traffic and traveling out of town.
Does your spouse or family member become very enthusiastic about Christmas holiday traditions and decorations? If so, how do you divide the Christmas "tasks" and planning in your own family?
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
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