My mom grew up in a small town in NC called Four Oaks. She lived there until she moved to Nashville, TN, to go to college. There, she met my dad. They fell in love, got married, and then she spent the majority of my childhood days in the midwestern part of the United States.
Every year until I got married, we came home to Four Oaks, NC.
We moved a lot growing up. My dad was a pastor, and so we were moving about every three years. One time we stayed in Nashville, TN only a year. So Four Oaks was the constant in my life. Every Christmas and every summer, we came to NC.
Some of my favorite memories are driving to grandmas for Christmas. It would be one full day or sometimes, depending on where we were living, a 2-day trip.
In the dark, cold early morning, the car would be running, getting all warm from the cold outside. The radio would be playing ever so softly, but you could hear the music and commercials in the distance. We had a station wagon, and you could lay the seats all the way down and have a flat backseat. Mom would make us a pallet using quilts and our favorite blankets and pillows.
When we were small enough, dad would pick me up and carry me to the car, and I would snuggle up under the blankets. Then, as I got older (elementary school age), I would walk to the car in my PJ’s and immediately snuggle up under the covers.
To this day, if it is a crisp cold early morning and the car is running, I can still get all the warm fuzzy feels from my childhood trips, coming home to Four Oaks, NC.
This is probably one of the reasons I love Christmas. The music, lights, smells, rehearsals, and Christmas Eve Services - All of it! And I want to enjoy every moment.
So that is why I start decorating on the first of November. When December 1st hits, I want everything set in place.
Now I know some of you can decorate your whole house in a day or two, and you are done. Not me. It does take me some time. Not because I go crazy with decorating, I just get easily distracted. I love the look, but I don’t like putting it all up! Anybody else like me?
I love all the memories and feels of Christmas and want to enjoy them for more than just a few weeks.
What is funny with me is a few days after Christmas, I am ready for it all to come down. That is probably because a few days after Christmas, we had to pack up the car at my Grandma’s house, tears streaming down my face, and head back to the midwestern part of the United States, and Christmas was over.
So, whether you decorate on the first of November, the first of December, you leave the decorations up until after the new year, take them down the week after Christmas, use a fake tree or a real tree… whatever you do, make some new happy memories!
I can’t go back even if I tried to recreate my childhood memory. It wouldn’t be the same. So I just enjoy the memories and let them bring a smile to my heart and all the feels.
I try to focus on creating a great environment for my kids so they will look back one day, and it will bring a smile to their faces.
If we are not careful, some people (me included) can try to recreate a feeling and end up bringing pain and frustration to the present because we are focused on the past and how it used to be.
So let me encourage you this season to do whatever it takes to live at peace with one another. Romans 12:18.
People won’t remember all the traditions, things, and stuff, but people will remember how you made them feel.
I don’t remember all the details about coming home to NC for Christmas, but I remember the feelings.
Feelings of comfort, family, and fun.
Cheering you on to a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season, no matter how you choose to celebrate it. :)