This week we finally put our tree up and it was so exciting to see how our three children really dove into it this year.
At the same time, I had to do a little bit of inner work to really release the outcome and allow it to flow.
You see, I have this box of Christmas decorations which we’ve been lumbering around with us for the past 15 years.
They’ve been carefully gathered and collected over our family’s childhood. Many of them were bought in the UK from when we lived over there when our girls were small.
There are the few things that were gifted to us during a particularly broke time.
There’s even a small angel decoration that I made for my husband’s and my first Christmas together. (We were “in-between” countries, not knowing where to settle so not really wanting to buy a lot of things. We had a small apartment and at the last moment I decided we needed to decorate for Christmas after all. The little angel’s face was done with embroidery thread and her body was ribbon found in the bottom of a sewing basket. Her head was literally the blower of a bubble bottle, covered in material. Every year I hang her on the tree with fondness.)
Over the years our box of decorations has been bashed around as it traveled from place to place with us.
Not only that, many a time I’ve stressed about its wellbeing, begging my husband to do check ins on its care. There was the couple of Christmases it had been left in storage and I would mourn the little angel or special trinkets that wouldn’t be on the tree that year.
There’s even been late night panic attacks where I’ve planned fire escapes and wondered how to get that box of decorations out from wherever it was stored.
At a certain point I’ve had to ask the magic question of “why?”
Why? Why was a box of decorations so important?
I think a lot of it comes from my own childhood.
Last week my sister, my niece and their children all came out for a pre-Christmas visit with my parents and my crew. It was a lovely visit, with lots of connection, fun and celebration. One of the festivities was surrounding the decoration of the tree and the house, which was done with great fanfare.
I mostly sat and watched as my children and their cousins rustled around hanging everything up, but I also had some time to go through the box of ornaments. I was also given a box of angels, singing in a choir, which had always been my responsibility to set out. I did my traditional job in my usual set-up.
The old tree topper angel, who was around when my parents first got married had been retired years ago, but is still dug out in memory and placed on the piano and there’s a sense of tradition, stability and cherished memory that surrounds the tree and home, which I know was the intention all along.
I know that this is why I guarded my box of holiday memory making paraphernalia with such committed certainty. I wanted my kids to know that secure routine. (no matter how stressed I was getting in getting it to them.) My parents had maintained this tradition so well. Surely I had to fill their shoes.
And so, it was with great bewilderment when I heard the excitement from my kids as we went to Walmart the other day when they exclaimed in excitement…
“CAN WE HAVE NEW ORNAMENTS THIS YEAR?”
My fashionista 15 year old then added…
“And can we just have an aesthetic tree… all color coded?” to which the other two full heartedly agreed.
I felt that tightening in my chest as if my box of ornaments were tugging on my heartstrings.
But I sighed them away, and said “let’s do it.”
The box of red balls were decided on, with silver tinsel to add. The excitement filled the air and as a family we stayed up late stringing the ornaments and strategically hanging them on the tree.
I sat back a few times in wonder, as I saw our three darlings working, laughing and decorating together. They felt empowered and excited to be creating new traditions. They are different than I had been growing up. They have a different perspectives and outlooks. They need different things than I had needed growing up.
So, we bought new stockings to replace their old ones and my box of ornaments still sit, mostly unpacked downstairs.
Except for a few things… like our first angel, who was given a special spot of honor. (Luckily her ribbon was red so she fits the decor.)
Now, you might be thinking, what are you doing Christina? The ornaments were important to you! Don’t sacrifice them.
But here’s the thing. I’ve done a lot of work on myself this year and I can honestly tell you…
The IDEA of them was important to me.
I wanted my children to have memories of joy and security and laughter… and I’d assumed that was found in a box. When I saw the fun and connection that came from the joint, new effort, there was no comparison to how it felt. It was so easy to release my box of clung on to ornaments.
My ornaments were merely a box of “shoulds”,
a preconceived notion of what was important, rather than an experience which was going to create the feelings I wished for my family. My kids had no attachment to them whatsoever, and when I was able to shift to a place of connection and presence, I found that I didn’t really either, and actually when I let them go, and released it all to the joy of the season and decorating in a go with the flow, present way… well not only was it more fulfilling and aligned… my goodness our tree is so much prettier this year than ever before!
Do you have a box of “shoulds” either in your basement or in your own heart and mind that feel like they actually keep you from the joy you wish to create for your family?
Hey, I was surprised to find this little nugget of a box. It’s a journey of constant digging and rediscovery for sure, but the relief is amazing. (I’m looking at the beautiful tree as I write this right now. Its a great feeling to appreciate it’s newness, rather than having to constantly be adjusting the old ones, or regretting some breakages etc.)Life is about that journey of release and allowing and growing with our kids.
One of the best first steps to take, especially at this time of year, is to look back at the year that's been and release it, learning and growing from what's been. You can then give intention and direction to the year that is in creation. I love this practice and in order to help you work through this information,
I've created a special FREE workbook, you can grab that here...
I hope it serves you well and launches you into a 2018 full of authenticity and presence for you and your family.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.