We always try to leave up our Christmas decorations throughout the Christmas season. I do get antsy to take everything down, clean the house, and have everything back to normal (whatever that is). But I at least like to enjoy the tree after the presents have been unwrapped, the chaos of the holidays are over, and I can just stare at it and enjoy it without thinking of the million things I need to do to be ready for Christmas Day. Joe and I continue to listen to our Christmas cds and eat off of our Christmas china until Epiphany. I guess you could say we take advantage of the 12 days of Christmas.
We celebrate Twelfth Night in the Brooks family. Growing up, we would leave our shoes outside with some hay (pine straw for us) for the Wisemen to give the camels on their way to find the baby Jesus. In thanks for our generosity they would leave us gifts. Small gifts – candy, little toys, maybe a movie or cd, etc. This custom was not made up by my family, but is in fact very old.
Even though we are not in Savannah and cannot leave our shoes outside at my mom’s house, she still keeps the tradition alive. This morning Joe and I found letters in our mailbox addressed to each of the three of us. Inside were gift certificates for Joe and me, and Bitty Baby accessories for Hannah (the American Girls baby doll for those of you that aren’t fortunate enough to be familiar…). The best part was that she included a few pieces of “leftover” pine straw. (The camels would always leave a few pieces in our shoes.)
I think we’ve been doing this forever. I can’t remember not doing it. In fact, I remember seeing envelopes with the stamp of the Wisemen in my mailbox when I was in college. I remember – one year at least – actually getting an old shoe in the mail…
Just like many of our traditions, old and new, I can’t wait to pass this one on to our kids. I hope they grow to enjoy Christmas as much as their parents do. But I really hope they grow to appreciate what it’s truly all about.
So the decorations are almost all put away. They will be put up safe and sound in their spot in the attic for another year. And I’m ok with that. We have a lot to look forward to this year. Next Christmas will come soon enough. And even crazier, I imagine, with two kiddos.
So, one last time, Merry Christmas!