Yes, I know, poor Shakespeare’s line has been used and abused more times than his plays have been read, but at this time of year ‘To tree, or not to tree?‘ seems the right question to ask. our stores overflow with glitter and tinsel. Facebook oozes cute Christmas craft ideas, or trendy new renditions of favourite tunes and everywhere else we are tempted to decorate and adopt traditions in our search for , as the TV ads put it, ‘The Best Christmas Ever.’
But don’t get sucked away by the commercialised undertow of the season. The trick it to remain true to your family values and be on the sharp lookout for anything that can heighten your appreciation of the wonder of Christ’s coming.
For my family we choose not to ‘play the Santa game’, but we do have a Christmas tree (though I admit I’m not a big fan of the tinsel draped feature). I have, over the years, made a variety of Christmas quilts which I pull out and display during the festive season – most tell at least part of the Birthday King’s story.
We have also gathered a few unique decorations from the various places we have lived; including a set of mini green and red bilums from Papua New Guniea. It seems Christmas somehow ends up being a scrapbook of the story of our lives, and perhaps because of that, I find myself resistant to buying the latest fashion of tinsel or bauble. I’m generally a fairly simple decorator, so my house still looks like my house once the entire box of Christmas bling has been distributed and there are NO outside twinkle lights yet. (Anyone else make night trips to sight-see other people’s lights?)
There was one Christmas year that I used advent candles, and I love the concept, but have not yet found a system I’m happy with, so that may wait a bit longer before it returns. Instead, I’m investing in a new, but simple, nativity set that I want to make the feature of our living room until the New Year.
But what about you? How do you decorate your home over Christmas? And what values or traditions are important? Which ones could you happily do without?
The question is: to tree, or not to tree?
Penny Reeve is a children’s writer from Australia. Her books make perfect Christmas presents – but she’ll forgive you if you decide instead to invest in more snowflake lights this year.