I have a son that loves holidays. He’s seven. He never was into trucks or sports, but he can single-handedly decorate our yard, door, and every surface in our 825-square-foot home for the holidays — mostly with homemade original stuff. Maybe if we get lucky, he spends his own money to purchase “real nice” decorations from the 99-cents store.
I haven’t been sure what to do with this enthusiasm, because I am a visual merchandiser by nature (and in my previous career). I like to have a place for everything and have some rest for the eye visually — and the tchotchkes cramp my style.
Then there’s my husband, who comes from a home where they never made a big deal about holidays. In fact, one of our first arguments as an engaged couple was that he brought me a latte for my birthday. I loved the latte, but that’s it. No card, gift, dinner, nada.
My mom and dad weren’t big on holiday celebrations either. For my dad, I’m sure it had something to do with the dollar signs, and for my mom, I think it was because she saw life through the lens of once being bound by Catholic traditions and wanting to practice as much “new convent” as possible — including Resurrection Day instead of Easter, no Halloween or Harvest festivals, and even Christmas was iffy. However birthday celebrations were a big deal: They’d last a week long and included no chores and driving in the passenger seat all week long, which is a big deal when you come from a family of eight kids.
What I do remember about the holidays as child was my excitement over even the littlest things: The new Easter dress for church, eating pumpkin pie after October 31st, and the one year my mom put cookies in our knee highs that we left pinned to the fireplace on Christmas Eve.
So where holidays are concerned, my husband and I haven’t been inclined to make too big a deal about them. That was before our son took it into his own hands.
My husband and I attend the small, conservative, hymn-singing family church my husband grew up in. No tradition there except that we take the Lord’s table every week. One time, my husband said laughing, “I think Elijah would LOVE it if we attended an Orthodox church, with candles, robes, and the traditional holidays.” And the more I thought about it, I think it’s true! Not because it’s better, but because it’s beautiful and that is what our creative son thrives on. Beauty.
And I’m starting to realize that it is God who created us to enjoy beauty. His beauty in creation, including the seasons that change, gently telling us a story. Winter reminds us of death or sleep for what grows, as well as remembering his birth before the new year begins! Spring reminds us of new life in the garden and in wildlife — and His resurrection for us. Summer, when everything grows and thrives, is when kids come alive with all there is to do outdoors, and it’s a time for “rest” with vacations or family time away. Fall reminds us to give thanks for his bounty and provision, as cultures throughout the whole earth have recognized that someone is to thank for the harvest. These seasons register meaning in our lives and reflect God’s creativity.
I’m learning that my son is already the little person who God created him to be. There is something in him that yearns for the seasonal change and the great expectation of “what’s next.” I think most children are this way: I’ve read about the importance of “rhythms” in children’s lives (bedtime routines, birthday traditions, quiet time) and how it helps them gauge time, and understand changes and growth.
Also, I’ve been learning that childhood is really about storing up a treasury of beautiful memories to last a lifetime and to be “companions” in whatever the Lord might have for them. I heard a beautiful story recently about a POW who had the will to survive because he lived on his childhood memories.
As a parent, you desire to set the right precedence for your kids and not mislead them. However, I think we can use “holidays” — whether they be man-made, family-made, or historically made — as an opportunity to turn our children’s hearts to God. He provided seasons for us to remember Him in so many different ways.
So amongst all the tchotchkes, homemade decorations, the door wreath and, yes, the Easter baskets, my children will also remember the beauty of it all when they look back on these holidays. I can thank my boy for bringing that to light for me.
When it comes to Easter, my kids actually like to find eggs left in their shoes, as per “A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays.” Of course, it’s one of my son’s favorite books!
As Easter approaches, how do you view celebrating the holidays with your children? What are your favorite family Easter traditions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure policy for more information.