Thursday, December 8, 2011

Green Christmases

I do love snow, just a dusting, and just in time for Christmas.  Otherwise, snow is what makes winter my least favorite season.  I hate driving on snowy and icy roads, I hate the unpredictability of winter travel and having to cancel plans with friends... I just hate winter.  The less snow the better, whatever Bing Crosby has to say about White Christmases.  Bah, humbug.

But, winter does contain my favorite holiday:  Christmas.  It is so much fun to shop, and plan, and make homemade gifts and food to share on that special day.  Each year, my girls and I try to mix things up a bit and make Christmas not just about gifts, but have it mean something more.  This year, we are forgoing wrapping paper and using bags sewn from Christmasy cloth for our gifts.  I like the idea of recycling and using as little paper as possible; recycling is what I do every day with books, after all.  Nicholas and Jill gave me their gifts last year in cloth bags, which inspired me to do the same this year.  Thanks, Nicholas and Jill! 

So, this Christmas is a green one, whether or not there is snow on the ground.  We are going green with our disuse of paper and next year, will use the same cloth bags to house different gifts.  Also, how we choose to replace our artificial tree for next year's Christmas will further mix things up in our home.  Half the lights on our ten year old fake tree will no longer light, so it's time to retire it.  But, I hate cutting trees down to use for just a few weeks, so no real trees anymore.  And, with the girls getting older, do I really need a big tree?  Perhaps next year, we will just have all our mini trees scattered throughout the house and no central place for Christmas, rather, it can be all around us.  I like that idea.

No matter how you celebrate Christmas, whether as a secular holiday or religious one, as a commercial enterprise or simply not at all, for me Christmas is the ultimate expression of faith and family.  Each year, we redefine it in our home, but it's always uniquely Hartelt, with lots of food and laughing at each other till we cry with all our inside jokes, and uniquely Boettcher, with the ornaments made by my former in-laws still making our home festive and my daughters' generation keeping the Boettcher sense of humor and irreverence alive.  And we Hartelt Boettchers wish you all a Merry Christmas!