Yep. We’re about to get in on some Peanuts action. We have a sweet little tradition at Christmas time, called Movie Mondays, which involve us as a family, watching a Christmas movie every Monday night at 8:00. It started as a way to fill the void left by Dancing With The Stars, which never runs into December, and which is the single greatest piece of television programming in the eyes of my children (and who are we kidding, you know who else). And while we don’t have cable, I do always love the fact that I can count on ABC to fill in the one movie gap I have with Charlie Brown year after year. (Our other 3 movies are Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Santa Clause.)
You guys already know- we are minimalists. Eh. I take that back. I like to think of us as minimalists. The truth is, I love stuff as much as the next person, I just hate the feeling of being in debt or spending money unwisely. So I fill up my internet shopping cart and then avoid checking out for the foreseeable future. And when I’m not dreaming of $200 Ugg boots and opting for the $24.99 sale price with free-shipping Target alternative, I actually do enjoy taking a break from the insane consumerism that is the holidays to relax with the fam. Like, phones-in-the-kitchen, everybody-in-their-pj’s, all-the-lights-out-but-the-Christmas-tree relaxation. It’s such a beautiful thing.
I love that we can laugh about the madness of trying to put on the perfect play, trying to have fun with friends without yelling at them and stomping off in fury, and trying to find the right tree . That little Charlie Brown tree is the spitting image of the tree in our house right now. I seriously contemplated getting a gorgeous, full, 12-foot live tree to go in our living room, because it would look sooooo lovely, and smell sooooo nice, and be sooooo in line with what our neighbors are doing. And my tired little tree, in its original box from 10 years ago, with its $39.99 label, and its box-set of ornaments that complement one another but are also fading in color, look like they could use an upgrade.
But here’s the thing: the kids love that tree. They can remember putting ornaments on it (well, they can remember me putting ornaments on it while they observed), and putting presents under it, and leaving cookies for Santa beside it. I remember feeling so proud when I bought it, after saving money from my first job, and feeling like I had a pretty, intentionally-decorated tree like the ones my mother had when we were growing up. I almost lose that feeling of pride every year, when I think, “ohmygosh! Look at that gorgeous, full, pine-scented wonder that would barely brush my ceiling and make my living room glow in Victorian splendor!” My internal stream of consciousness is very dramatic. I make little haha jokes at my Charlie Brown tree and all the blank space between branches, and think “you’ve moved up, girl. Time to graduate from this pile of twigs to the big girl tree.”
And then, A Charlie Brown Christmas comes on. Oh geez. It gets me every time. What’s the true meaning of Christmas? What is it to you? It’s a lot of things to me- of course it’s Jesus. But it’s also, “how does Jesus want me to live my life?” I struggle so much with wanting more. As my means have changed and changed drastically, I’ve wanted to continue to live in the same “lifestyle-to-means” ratio. But that’s not really me. And personally, I’m not my best when that’s the way I try to live. It’s just too easy for me to nose-dive into excess when I start thinking about the accumulation of stuff. Maybe one day I’ll buy the big tree. Maybe I won’t. If you’re just tuning in, our family approach to life is equal parts directed-by-goals and figure-this-out-as-we-go. And it probably stands to reason that Christmas fits right in there too.
I don’t know that I said a whole lot here…but I do hear Charlie Brown starting up in the background. So I’m off for a pj party with 4 of my 5 favorite people (because the 5th is already down for the night), and hoping they won’t be calling each other Blockheads for the next 6 weeks. Cheers.