Christmas Card Dilemma
By Courtney Phillips
My husband and I will be celebrating our third Christmas together, and we have slowly been creating Christmas traditions, combining our families’ traditions from over the years. The beauty of being newly married around Christmas, is the joy of deciding which Christmas traditions to keep from each other’s families and most importantly, which traditions represent how you want to spend your time and energy during your few weeks of Christmas. Others may see this as difficult, because in combining two families’ tradition, it’s bound that a few traditions will get lost in the midst (hopefully not). The one conviction I have found myself facing during advent is this: How can we best remember in our home, our life, and our traditions the hope of the Christ who has come and is coming again? There are a lot of traditions in each of our families that we enjoy: making cookies, getting Christmas Eve pajamas that match, filling the stocking, Logan’s fudge, etc. However, if I am being truly honest, I want to create traditions for our family that we can continue year after year which will help push us towards remembrance more than anything else. My hope is not to lose traditions, but to simply create traditions with all the more meaning, purpose, and mindfulness. I can give you an example of a tradition that I felt like lacked these three important factors:
Last year we had our Christmas pictures made for Christmas cards, but never actually ordered the cards. I got really busy, and honestly, didn’t want to spend the money. There are a couple of expenses that accrue to make the cards (I hope I don’t sound like a Grinch to some people!): money for photographer, card, envelopes, stamps, and let’s add time because time can be expensive too; it’s a lot when it’s all added up. After the first week of December passed, my husband looked up at me from me across the dinner table and asked, “When are we going to get our Christmas cards that we ordered?” I laughed because he said “we”, and that implies that “we” collectively made an effort to pick out a picture, “we” made sure “we” got the right quantity, and decided whether or not it was in the budget. “We” did not order Christmas cards, because it was not up to “we”, but in reality, it was up to “me”, and “me” decided she was too busy and did not want to spend the money. The look on his face: utter shock, dismay, and disappointment. “Why did we not order Christmas cards if we went through the trouble to take the pictures?” he exclaimed (completely valid point). I responded as sweetly as I could, “It doesn’t fit in the budget, and last time I checked, no one broke off our friendship because they didn’t receive a Christmas card from us, so I think we are in the clear.” However, in the south, I’m sure someone is wondering why they didn’t get a card last year, because traditions are traditions for tradition sake. He was still upset and truly disappointed.
I learned quite a bit from that experience:
- Some traditions are not traditions we can get rid of just because someone doesn’t see the point in the tradition. (aka me wondering why cards honestly matter; anyone else out there agree?)
- Christmas traditions create consistency and joy during a season where a lot of things can change.
- Traditions are worth having because they usually bring everyone together for one common cause, and that is a beautiful picture of the gospel during Christmas.
So why am I telling you all of this instead of listing my traditions? I wanted to express that traditions are worth considering and thinking about. They are worth fighting for. They are worth keeping, even when it’s extra hard to keep in the schedule, budget, or whatever constraint can happen around the holidays. Traditions call for a time of remembrance, joy, and most importantly, unity. My hope is that our traditions glorify Christ, but I also have come to understand that some traditions are traditions because they cause us to be together, and that alone glorifies Christ. Merry Christmas!