Keep the Home Fires Burning

It’s this week! Eeek!! I love Christmas. Because of the pandemic I have more entertaining, not less. Let me explain. To minimize risk for some family members, our large family is celebrating with us at three different times. That’s three different meals. Three different house cleanings. Tripling my work load. And I love it!

In a year of so much that’s gone wrong, it is all the more important that we do Christmas right. We need joy, safe warm fellowship, and giving. I believe we need more giving, not less.

  • Make cookie plates for neighbors. You don’t need a wide variety of cookies. Just a small plate of chocolate chippers creates as much holiday cheer as professionally decorated sugar cookies.
  • Do one thing for someone you normally avoid. It can be as simple as opening a door or a genuine smile. It’s not how large the act, but simply the act itself that changes the heart.
  • Turn up the carols and turn off the social media. The world won’t come to an end if you abstain from Facebook for a day.
  • Pay attention to people. Retire those devices and focus instead on those around you.

Do you know how the home fires became a part of our culture? The year was 1914 and we were mired in our first world war. British artists wrote the song for soldiers languishing in trenches, just as their loved ones yearned for their return. It was a love song between hearth and hearts separated by war. We heated with wood for many years, and let me tell you, nothing drives away a chill like a good wood fire. The song has always held special significance for us.

Today we find ourselves in a different kind of war, some feel like it’s a war for survival. We feel hounded by an unseen virus that kills, strive to stretch the dollar, and face restrictions in safe gatherings. In the face of all that’s wrong, find all that is right, and celebrate the right. Forget expensive presents and focus instead on relationships. We got one special toy for each of our littles, but also bought jacks for the girls and flashlights for the boys, to play hide ‘n seek under the cover of darkness. Of course, we play as well, so there’s that! It’s fun for all of us.

Streamline some of the meal preparation. I’ve pared down the traditional menu and moved some of the extra prepping to Wednesday. Food is in every celebration, and I love fixing my family food, but it’s not about the food. I tell myself that every year, and I am always falling into bed on Christmas night, a worn out but happy camper. This year I’m determined to reduce the wear and tear by making it simpler. We’ll see how that goes, lol.

The bottom line rests on the shared smiles and the growing treasury of memories rather than a dwindling checking account. You can keep the home fires burning by putting some thought and a teensy bit of effort into traditions that matter. Just be sure those traditions include smiles.

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