Karla’s Korner: Holiday Traditions

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles here.

Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

As I cleaned out my refrigerator this weekend I found a small container with leftover sweet potato casserole from Thanksgiving tucked away behind the sour cream. Wrinkling up my nose at the slimy orange mound of muck as it plopped into the bottom of the trash can it seemed as if Thanksgiving had been so very long ago. A mere ten days has passed since Thanksgiving and all of the sudden Christmas is barreling right toward us and I have not shopped at all and our tree stands un-decorated in the living room surrounded by boxes of ornaments and other decorative “stuff” waiting to find a place to sit for the next few weeks. At times like this I want to hide away in the corner somewhere just like those
sweet potatoes; un-noticed and out of the way.

Sitting in the middle of my living room feeling a bit overwhelmed I notice that my husband has made a contribution to the decorating this year. Nestled neatly underneath our naked Christmas tree sits one of his most prized possessions; his momma’s nativity scene. I didn’t see him put it there but I know he did, because he has treasured it from afar for as long as I have known him. Our first Christmas together was way back in 1988. We were engaged to be married and had travelled to North Carolina to spend part of the holidays with his family. I remember entering my in-laws home feeling a bit overwhelmed and a bit out of place. After all, I was the new kid on the block and I was about to marry their boy. Their house was a modest little three bedroom home filled to the brim with photographs, trinkets from their past along with a colorful Christmas tree filled with handmade ornaments; each had a story to tell. Nestled underneath that tree of memories was a simple little nativity scene with a mossy like substance on the roof and a small light peeking through giving me a feeling of peace as I looked at it. As my soon to be husband began to recall memories of the ornaments on the tree, he shared with me in great detail how he would lay in front of the tree as a small boy and stare at that manger scene. His momma would tell how he looked forward to her putting it there every year.

This past February we travelled to North Carolina to sort through my mother –in-laws things; she has moved into an assisted living facility and does not have space for everything. My sisters-in-laws had gone through most of the stuff left behind after the sale of her house and set aside a few things for each sibling knowing certain things meant more to one than the other. As we opened the storage unit doors and entered the cold impersonal room we noticed a small pile of things labeled “David”. There on top of it all was the beloved nativity scene waiting to be taken to its new home to be cherished by that now grown man who as a boy loved it so much all those years ago. And now, there it sits under our tree with its dim little light shining for all who want to take the time to stare at it and remember what our faith tells us about Christmas.

Traditions are important in our lives; they not only allow us to remember certain events but they create a sense of stability and familiarity as well. As a young girl I remember waking up at the crack of dawn and sitting at the top of the steps waiting for my grandparents to show up so we could dash down the steps to open gifts on Christmas morning. We knew that we were not allowed to go see what was left under our tree until they were there; and oh boy if they were late it seemed like an eternity waiting up there. Now, at 45 years old with big kids of my own my heart hurts a little because I miss that tradition; I miss my grandparents. The tradition from long ago has turned into a memory that will linger in my heart forever. I find myself wishing that I had just one more Christmas with them; but I know I can’t. It’s up to me to create my own traditions while cherishing the memories.

As we prepare for the holiday season I encourage you to take time to celebrate family traditions. If you do not have any, well, go make some. With my children older now and creating lives of their own, I am finding that our family traditions are being changed; tweaked if you will. My daughter has shared with me that she will be going out of town for a few days before Christmas and will return on Christmas Eve. Of course I am happy for her, however, I find myself missing that little girl who never wanted to leave my side. I have shared 19 Christmas’ with her and know that one day, probably in the not so distant future, I will find myself waking up on Christmas morning and she will not be here and a new tradition will be made; and one day down the road of life, my son will be off somewhere making his own traditions as well.

This year, our new tradition involves a little old nativity scene that has weathered many early morning Christmas frenzies for over 50 years. My hope is that if and when we are blessed with grandchildren, they too will find something special in that manger and want to keep the tradition alive in their families.

Whatever your holiday traditions are I encourage you to treasure them; keep them close to your heart savoring every moment that you celebrate them knowing that at some point on your life journey those traditions will become memories and memories last a life time.