Decorate inside, outside, everywhere. It doesn’t have to look gaudy or over-done. Just, you know, put up a Christmas tree (if it’s Christmas we’re talking about), pull out the Christmas-themed things, and hang some lights. This isn’t an act of obligation. It’s a wonderful expression of excitement and wonder. If you’ve ever driven around to look at lights, it’s always the houses that have more than one strand of lights that attract the most ooos and aahhs. Put the one strand up if that’s all you have, but there’s something extra special about going above and beyond. Why not make your house look like a gingerbread house? Why not let your Christmas tree shine so brightly through your window, loaded with all kind of ornaments? Why not have Christmas-themed décor that you pull out only during this time of year? If it’s this kind of stuff that sends you into an anxiety-induced tailspin, try to view all this effort as an investment into the memory-making process with your family. Kids love lights. They love it when their home feels like Christmas. We can do our part to bring the Christmas spirit into their lives through participating in the decorating part of the season.
Timeline? The Saturday after Thanksgiving is a great time to have a tree-trimming party and to pull out all the Christmas things. There’s no reason to keep everything up and out past the first half of January. Give the month of December its due, with a little overhang into November and the new year.
Preparations? It helps me to prepare the way for the Christmas tree. This means that I am making space in the living room and clearing up any clutter. I like for the viewing area to be open and tidy. This contributes to the peace we are trying to create by the decorations we put up (like a Christmas tree).
Extent? I like to keep things simple, so if there’s a Christmas tree with lights and some ornaments (because depending on the age of our children, the ornaments become toys to play with instead of stationary items to admire), then check. It doesn’t have to be a perfect tree with perfectly-placed, matching ornaments. Same goes for any Christmas-themed décor or outdoor lighting.
The idea is participation. Yes, a little bit counts. But why not make it count like you mean it?