“It was to be an activity for the Ladies’ Breakfast last week, but we didn’t need it,” I answered.
He chewed a little longer and then pointed at the cup. A man of few words, I knew what he meant. I pulled out the first strip and read it off to him.
“What is your favorite Christmas memory and why?”
He started laughing. His favorite memory, believe it or not, is that we did NOT have a Christmas tree. You see, every year we packed up the kids and took the interstate north to West Virginia. They always wanted to spend Christmas with their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. After several years of decorating a house, leaving it empty on Christmas, and then returning to clean up the decorations AND unpack from the trip, I had had enough. I declared if we were going home for Christmas, then Christmas would stay in WV.
I have taken a lot of flak for that decision. Don’t I miss looking at the tree? No. Don’t I feel like I am depriving the children of the holiday spirit? No. Don’t I wish we had family Christmas traditions? No, because we do.
We go home for Christmas. We visit our loved ones that we only see at Christmas. We go to church together on Christmas Eve. We unwrap presents at particular times, set out cookies for Santa, throw oats on the lawn for the reindeer, and make cookies together.
Today at lunch I was finally affirmed. “People always said what a bad mother you were because we didn’t have a Christmas tree. The truth is I never cared. We always went to the grandparents for Christmas and that was all I cared about,” Jonathan grinned as he shared his secret. “But I still thought it was funny that people said things about it.”
Build traditions of family vacations and trips and outings. These memories will never be forgotten by your children.
Ezra Taft Benson