I have a confession. In years past, I would sometimes hang things, my children, made-by-hand toward the back of the Christmas tree. It was not that I did not love their creations, but I had a theme or a look in mind and somehow I ended up moving their art until it was almost invisible.
I had friends that would do a “kid’s tree” and all the homemade decorations would be on that tree in a different room. I was in denial. I thought I was being inclusive when really I was tucking their things into oblivion.
As we were taking our tree down this January my oldest son said, “I like how the only decorations we had this year, were the ones we made.” I recoiled for a second and almost started defending my old addiction to themed trees, but I knew he was not blaming me. He was proud that his art was center stage, right where it should be, for all to see. I was a bit ashamed that it took not having ANY other decorations, to see the real beauty in their creations.
They made a paper chain out of an old book, glued pictures onto plastic molds, and spent hours on colorful cards they tucked into the tree for us to find. They started to see decoration inspiration everywhere, from the beach to the mountains.
As they gathered items, I realized many of my old ways were more about appearances. Maybe I am just allowing this kind of “Tuscan tree takeover” because no one will see it. Is that not shallow?
As the days passed and their homemade projects filled every corner of our living space, I was humbled by their lesson. I was not wrong for wanting a pretty tree, but they know so much more about what makes something truly beautiful.
Their goal was not to complete the tree decor with flawless perfection. They never stopped decorating. Up to the very day, we took the tree down, they were adding and moving and transforming their art.
It was never about finishing for them. It was about the JOY inherent in the act of creating. It was about the journey and it is a lesson they teach me, over and over again, in every season.
To think I almost did a “Tuscan” themed tree with pasta chains and wooden spoons!