Little Things Matter

Our holiday season is in full swing now. On Friday evening we went to town to see Living Windows. Each of the shops in the downtown area has a Christmas scene depicted in its window using people. You’re actually watching these people perform various Christmas task. Of course, there are the obvious depictions, such as decorating the tree and baking cookies. One store had something a bit unusual in that there were three children ice fishing. They were fishing from one of those large indoor fountain displays, which was decorated to look icy. Each child had his/her fishing pole with fish duly attached to the end of the line. Many of the scenes were of old fashioned Christmas seasons. A scene showing people stringing popcorn to decorate the tree brought back some pleasant childhood memories for me. It was complete with paper chains of the sort I remember making in school to decorate our tree.

The scenes in the window weren’t the only attraction. There were Christmas carolers in several locations. Rebecca and I just had to stop and listen for a bit. Some street vendors were selling items like hot chocolate and apple cider. There were many treats to eat as well. One of the shop owners was creating a long pine bough, complete with ribbons, to string across the street. There were two horse drawn wagons you could get on to take a ride. On at least one corner was a burn barrel you could use to warm yourself. Overall, it was an interesting feel of Christmas past, but also different and quite entertaining. Except for gas, we spent precisely nothing for two hours of fun.

Saturday morning found me in the kitchen with Rebecca. I had donned my cookie apron and we spent the day making sugar cookies. Of course, they all had to be decorated and no one stocks the wide array of sanding sugars, candies, jimmies, and other odd assorted decorations that Rebecca does. I made a number of reindeer, Christmas trees, wreaths, angels, bells, and gingerbread people (amongst other items). Some of the more unusual cookies included frogs and motorcycles (yes, we actually found a motorcycle-shaped cookie cutter). By Saturday afternoon the cookies were baked and packed away as gifts for various friends. I’m not sure who will receive the cookies, but I do plan to be a little bad and nibble a few. I imagine we made Christmas cookies for around twenty people for less than $20.00, but really didn’t bother to keep track—we were having far too much fun to do that.

Saturday evening was the children’s program at out church. It’s something we look forward to seeing every year. The children did especially well this year. The church was packed to standing room only status and they finally set up closed circuit television in the dining room below the main church. We’ve been told that there were well over 800 people in attendance. Even with the tightly packed crowd, everything was orderly. We could clearly hear the cherub tones coming from the front of the church, even if we couldn’t always see the cherubs themselves.

These traditions may seem like little things, but they really do matter. They help us keep focused on the meaning of Christmas. More importantly, they help keep us sane in an increasingly hostile world. We read the news, just like everyone else, but these little traditions that cost little, but mean so much, really do help keep things in perspective. I hope that you have your traditions too. Let me know about some of the things you do to keep your sanity during the holiday season at [email protected].