Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving we go pick out our tree and decorate our home for Christmas. Ever since I was a little girl it has always been one of my favorite weekends of the year. However a few years ago blogging changed everything.
Back in 2014 I was asked to be a part of an online Christmas Home Tour with a bunch of other really well known bloggers. That meant my favorite weekend of the year got pushed up a few weeks, so I was decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving (which has always been a BIG no-no for me), and instead of my family and I decorating the house, it was a me and a friend of mine staging our home to look perfect for all the pictures I had to take.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun, and it looked incredible because my friend is a wonderfully gifted decorator, but it just wasn’t the same.
The next year it was more of the same – big online home tour, lots of pressure, every room in the house staged to look perfect for pictures, etc. That year I actually had to decorate so early, because of my deadline, that I ended up buying a fake tree, which was something else I swore I’d never do. It was a beautiful tree though and everything turned out beautiful, but still, it wasn’t the same.
And then last Christmas rolled around. I wasn’t asked to be on a home tour so I didn’t have to go all out as much as the years before, but at the time I was a contributor for Homes.com so I had to write a Christmas post for them. I was able to wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving but it wasn’t until I was standing in my living room, on top of a bar stool, decorating the tree by myself – so it would look perfect for the pictures – that I realized how sad my reality really was.
I looked around at my beautifully staged home and felt like crying. I was all alone in the house, decorating for Christmas, trying to make it look perfect for my post. In that moment I was sick to my stomach and I felt like Christmas had thrown up all over my house, but for what? A blog post? Three years in a row of perfection and pictures and home tours had robbed me of my favorite weekend of the year.
I thought back to all the memories I have of decorating our trees, when I was a kid, and realized I’ve been robbing Malea of those memories. I’d been robbing her of one of the funnest things to do as a kid, because of my job. I had chosen home tours, perfection and pictures over laughter, memories and time with my family.
When I realized that in the moment, I was so sad and promised myself I’d never do it again. Decorating for Christmas is so much more than a home tour but because of the blogging world, and the nature of my business, that’s what I had reduced it to.
I feel that as I’ve gotten older, culture has changed Christmas for so many of us. The reason bloggers do home tours is because there’s a demand for it.
Culture has said that our homes have to be perfectly decorated, like the pages of a BHG magazine, or our favorite homes on Pinterest. And media has taught us that we have to find the perfect gifts for everyone, so we spend way more money on picking out the perfect presents, instead of sitting in the presence of what the season is truly about.
We have gotten so far from the true meaning of Christmas because we’ve bought the lie the enemy has sold through culture, that Christmas is about lawn ornaments, Elf on the Shelf, perfectly decorated homes and buying over-the-top gifts to impress our friends and family.
But there was actually nothing fancy about the very first Christmas – no twinkling lights, no presents, just the birth of our Savior, Jesus.
I’m challenging myself this year and I want to challenge you too, to not go over the top. Let’s not make Christmas about perfection, let’s decorate the house together and let our kids be creative with it. Let’s spend less money on gifts and instead spend more time together, building memories and making traditions. Let’s say “no” to the lie the enemy has sold us and spend more time focusing on what Christmas is truly about.
I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10b-12 (NLT)
Looking back, even though it still makes me sad, I’m so thankful for that moment I had on the stool, when the Lord spoke to my heart. I don’t want to ever go back to that place – from now on I want to make so many memories with my family, as we decorate for Christmas together!
This Christmas let’s remember it isn’t about perfection, it’s about presence. The presence of our family and the presence of the greatest gift that was ever given, our Savior.
For this reason I’m taking the month of December off, so I can spend more time with my family, but I’ll be back the first week of January with a new series about identity. I hope you have an incredibly wonderful Christmas season and I look forward to being back with you in January!