Years ago, my mom shared a few brilliant Christmas traditions with me.
Every year, when I pack up my Christmas decorations after the season is over, I do two things.
The first is I write a letter, It is a mixture of memories prayers, and dreams.
I started this when Drew was born. In 1999. It’s incredible- the funny things that we did, the thoughts we had, and the concerns! For example, that first year, I was begging for this baby to sleep through the entire night. “Will we ever feel normal again? Will I ever sleep 8 hours again?”
Bless my sweet new mother’s heart, little did I know. I would sleep again and not only that, I would do anything to rewind the clock and go back to his infancy days for a beat.
I would write about all the major things that happened the year before and all the things that we hoped would happen in the following year. Each year, when we get the ornaments and decorations out, I sit down to see how far we have come.
It’s always fun to read your thoughts from a year ago~ thoughts you may not even remember having until you are reading the words on the page.
Not many people are great at journaling (I’m not! I try to be, but not really) but everyone can sit down for 5 minutes to write a letter once a year. Here’s the best part. When you go back and read them, in your own voice and handwriting, it gives you a bigger perspective and more appreciation for what has happened in your life.
These letters tell the story of how far you have come, and the prayers that have been answered. You can see where you were protected, where what you wanted so badly…only to realize the blessing that it didn’t happen.
They are good for a laugh. There will be some things you just know were going to happen in a certain way that definitely did not happen. Usually, you think, thank God they didn’t.
There will be other thanks that you hoped and prayed for, and you realize just how small those dreams actually were.
Here are a few of my stand out letters:
2000 My letters were about sweet baby Drew and when would we have another baby. (HINT: Annie arrived 11/2001)
2006 My letter was gratitude for Drew and Annie and our final Christmas together. I was 37 weeks pregnant and wanting the twins on the outside. I was so uncomfortable with them inside, but so aware that our life was about to become complicated.
2008 My Christmas letter was gratitude about our growing family and how I was hoping and planning that 2009 would be a quiet year where we settled into a family lifestyle. Little did I know that a few days after this letter was written and tucked away I would end up in the hospital and Dave’s career would transplant us from Michigan to Mississippi.
2017 Was a year that I published my letter that created CarpetnerOne80. This shifting of our life is when the dream moved into a plan to launch a business.
Here it is…”I love my morning view. Right now it is still and simple. I’m not ready to turn the life page and take this tree down because when I do, life gets real. I am aware that the next time I see this tree we will no longer have elementary school-aged children. My twins are now 11. My Annie will be driving, I wish it was still her battery-powered pink Barbie Jeep. My Drew will have graduated High School. My first real live baby doll, I sill think of him like a toddler. Today, I’m not ready. I choose here and this year’s tree. Tomorrow, I’ll be ready.”
The second thing I do is save and use that years cast off wrapping paper to wrap ornaments, decorations, and the Nativity Scene.
My grandmother made for Lady Diana (my mom) a beautiful Nativity Scene and gave it to her the year I was born, 1972. It was a mother’s gift to a new mother. My mom saved the wrapping paper from my first Christmas to wrap each piece of this scene into.
To my surprise, the year that Drew was born, I was given that same Nativity Scene. She then told me the story about the wrapping paper. I used Drew’s fist Xmas wrap that year. To this day, save the wrap, I set it aside, and I use it to wrap our precious holiday decorations. The wrap seems to bring back the forgotten special memories made the year before. This becomes a visual trip down memory lane
This is a tip I share with all new parents because it has meant so much to me.
This year, when your Christmas season is winding down and you are packing up your ornaments and decorations, I hope you save the wrapping paper and take a few minutes to write down our own letter.
New Year, New tradition, and every year after this when you open and read these handwritten notes, I know you will be as blessed as I have been.