O Christmas Tree~

Throughout my life there has been a great deal of tradition surrounding the finding, decorating, and sitting around our yearly Christmas tree. From the time I was a child my folks would pack we six girls into our station wagon and head to a tree farm to find that perfect tree.  We would wander around looking for that “perfect tree” amidst laughter and warm hot chocolate.

When we moved from California to Central Oregon our search for that perfect tree became much more intense as we would trudge through snow, fighting the wind and cold, to bring home a tree that would light up our holiday living room. This tradition brings so many wonderful memories of laughter and snowball fights to mind.

However, I am reminded of a year when we didn’t have a Christmas tree; we didn’t really even have a home. We were living in 3 small trailers and our clothes were being held in two damp tents as we waited for our new house to be built; a project that had gone 3 months longer than anticipated.

My parents, prior to Christmas morning had gone up to our “yet unfinished” home taking Christmas balls and bows with them. Grabbing a tall ladder they decorated the steps with bright adornment in an effort to give their girls a “Christmas tree”.

Imagine our surprise Christmas morning!  We laughed with delight and heartily appreciated the creative efforts that our  parents had put forth, it was a great day of memory making!

Having traditions matters.  In a world where there is an abundance of change, having traditions can pull a family together to share memories that are both historical and new!  They remind us together of what we have shared in the past but give us the opportunity to  build on those traditions in fresh ways if need ~~like the ladder!

This Holiday season give yourself the chance to choose or create some traditions of your own! Whether baking Christmas cookies, Playing “ding , dong ditch” as you bless your neighbors with surprises, drive around looking at all the lighted homes, following the advent calendar as a family, or getting a Christmas tree.  Simply build shared experiences that you can count on each year!  You will find that these are the memories that will warm your heart and fill you with joy-filled reflection in the years to come.

What are your traditions?

Don’t Forget to Laugh!!!!!

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

Laughter is a gift, a necessary gift that helps us navigate loss, challenges, changes, good-byes, and uncertainty.  Laughter is that place where we can go, not to be thoughtless but rather to rise above those things we simply cannot control.

Have you ever laughed so hard that you eyes were full of tears and your stomach began to hurt?  Wasn’t it painfully refreshing?  Memorable?  I have.  I love those times ~~ somehow I believe they are cleansing to a heavy heart.

Perhaps this is a season that has challenged your faith, broken your heart, and overwhelmed you with uncertainties. Laugh!! Find a way to dig deep and laugh with your whole being.  Watch and see if you don’t find yourself feeling lighter, breathing deeper, and being filled with fresh anticipation for the days ahead!!