2016 Cultivating Gratitude: Old Traditions

wreath    The Christmas wreath is a standard in our home.  It hangs on the inside of the door. It is too thick to hang between the wooden door and the storm door without being crushed, so I hang it so the people on the inside of the house can feel its Christmas spirit. 

A couple of weeks ago, my husband came down out of the attic on Sunday night with all the tubs full of Christmas decorations and the box with the tree. I was not happy.  I recall that I had asked him the weekend prior to do that, but I was just too tired to care about baubles and beads that night.  An argument started – the kind were one partner is trying to do his part and the other is just not in the mood.  But the tubs were down and the decorating began.  In the spirit of the Grinch, I griped that I was only putting up a tree this year and nothing else and stomped around the room disgusted that I had to do any of it. It was a lovely way to start the Christmas season.

The next morning I discovered the Christmas wreath on the door was hung upside down.  I know what an upside-down flag means – the country is in distress.  Maybe that was what the wreath was trying to say.

I turned it over and the center fell out. That was when I remembered making the wreath many years ago.  I bought a green wreath and decorated it myself.  At the store, I found an antique-looking parchment with the sheet music for “The First Noel” hanging on a gold thread and it became the focal point of my wreath. My son was in band and played the trumpet. As soon as the wreath was hung he pulled out the horn and read the music as it hung above the fireplace.  Those were good days. 

Suddenly I realized the wreath must be well over 20 years old.  My son is grown and the wreath (only used for a short period each year) was still intact. 

I did a little research and discovered the history of Christmas wreaths and found out that they originated in Germany.  An Advent wreath was a circle of evergreens that lay on the table, not hung on the door.  It had three candles in the middle, two purple, signifying penance, and one rose, signifying joy. Different colors of candles were lit each week, and the final week all the candles were lit at once.  The light of the candles signified the light of Christ, Who would come into the world at Christmas.

The wreath brought back memories and made me realize what great life I’ve had.  The memories – most of them good – sustain me and the future is still before me.  My Christmas is not in distress.  The wreath would once again be a light to go by. We were blessed.  

I hope you decorate for the Christmas season and Merry Christmas to you and your family, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.


About peggylchambers

Peggy Chambers calls Enid, Oklahoma home. She has been writing for several years and is an award winning, published author, always working on another. She spends her days, nights, and weekends making up stories. She attended Phillips University, the University of Central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Enid Writers’ Club, and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. There is always another story weaving itself around in her brain trying to come out. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
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2 Responses to 2016 Cultivating Gratitude: Old Traditions

  1. I sometimes think I am the only one grumbling under my breath as I decorate, but every year it makes our home so cozy and radiates a warmth missing during other seasons that I forget my grumbling (hope my husband does too…) One of my favorite activities is to wake up early,
    sit in the dark and look out on our big Blue Spruce lighting up the night. It helps me start my day grateful for the season and the beauty. Thanks for sharing Peggy and a Blessed Christmas Season to you and yours!


  2. slmcpartland says:

    I sometimes think I am the only one who grumbles through Christmas decorating…but it always brings such beauty and warmth that I soon forget my grumbling and hope my husband does too. One of my favorite activities during this season is to wake up early, grab some coffee and sit in the dark staring out at our big Blue Spruce lighting up the early morning darkness. It helps me begin my day being grateful and with calm. Thanks for sharing Peggy and a Blessed Christmas Season to you and yours!


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