We didn't celebrate much, growing up. We had very little money and very many people. My step-dad was an alcoholic. He ruined every holiday so eventually my mom gave up trying to make anything feel special. I missed that and knew I wanted to do things differently with my boys.

Over the years, I've found there are many obstacles to celebrating. Some feel that if you are on a strict budget, then you can't celebrate anything. Some feel that they aren't creative enough. Some feel guilty that they don't deserve to celebrate; it's somehow frivolous. Some even feel it's not very Christian to celebrate: our time, energy, money could be better used elsewhere. Or, my personal favorite, many feel it's too much work and not appreciated, so why bother in the first place? I'm sure there are more!

I've struggled with many of those things over the years.

I've learned to say POO to all of them.

No, actually, I'll go one step further; I'll call those out as excuses. Lies. Little things that fester and grow until they become yet another way joy is stolen from our lives. I decided, years ago, to go ahead and make some more room for joy. For celebration. When was the last time you truly celebrated something or someone? For some of us, it's a learning curve. But it's so worth it!

Here are my thoughts on celebrating...

Budget: We live in a culture of big spenders and it's super hard not to get swept up or beaten down by it. I could go on and on about this, but suffice it to say there are a lot of great, cheap ideas out there. Today, for instance, we celebrated Valentine's Day and I hardly spent anything. I picked up a few goodies for the boys on Christmas clearance and stored them away. Walgreen's had a couple of great candy deals that I took advantage of. I made cute little goody bags by using pinking shears to cut down plain brown paper lunch sacks which I then decorated with stickers. I decorated the table with my white tablecloth and any white and pink decorations I had on hand, with my wedding cake topper serving as the centerpiece. I pulled out the good china and utensils. I scrounged up two pink paper napkins (the last!) and opened them, and put them catty-corner on table with me decorations on top - just enough splash of color. I cut the bacon in half and arranged them to look like hearts. I made heart-shaped pancakes. I sprinkled a dash of pink sugar on the pancakes. Chocolate-dipped strawberries were on the side. Done. I can honestly say I maybe spent $10 and the boys were absolutely in awe. It can be done!

Creativity:For some reason, we tend to think that we have to come up with ideas totally on our own. So not true. Great artists throughout history studied and replicated the works of artists who came before them. There's no shame in that. They let a work inspire them, they put their own twist on it, their own interpretation, and then went from there. We should follow in their footsteps. Honestly, this excuse is just that: an excuse. The library is a great resource. The internet: Pinterest.com, google, blogs, etc, etc, etc. There are so many ideas out there, just waiting to be found!

Guilt: There's so much suffering in this world. We have so much and are blessed beyond measure as it is. How can we sit here, with a banquet spread before us, with gifts, laughter, and joy, when so many are without? If this is something you struggle with, I encourage you to dig into the Word of God. His Word is FULL of celebrations, and banquets, and remembrances. Celebrating is good. Joy is good. Rest is good. God has given all of these things to us. Pray, read scripture, and ask God to speak to you in this area.

Worthwhile: Oooh, I've struggled with this! Sometimes (who am I kidding, MOST times), things do not go as planned! I often feel stressed when I'm trying to pull together a large meal. I've got this needing to be stirred here, and that needing to be flipped there, and on and on, all at the same time. Or something totally flops. Or, maybe the meal and decor and gifts all work fine, but the day ends and all I'm left with is a big mess to clean up. It can seem like a whole lot of work for a whole lot of 'nuthin. But then I remembered all those birthdays and holidays of my childhood that went by with barely a blip. And I know it's all worthwhile. I remember that it's a joy and a privilege to serve my family and bring joy into their lives!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Now, a few little tips...

Decide to celebrate!
Plan it all in advance. Gather your ideas a couple of weeks out. If there is anything you can make, assemble, decorate, clean, etc, do that as far out as possible! It will make the day-of go so much more smoothly! Don't forget to stick to your budget, and don't feel badly about delegating when/where you can!
Doit! Forget perfectionism and strive for excellence. Keep a cheerful, celebratory attitude and no one will notice if this is a bit overdone and that's drooping a bit, or those two whatevers don't match exactly. Let yourself have fun, too!

Now, with all of that said, here are a couple of pictures from our breakfast not-quite-perfect-but-perfect-for-us Valentine's Day celebration.

[caption id="attachment_660" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bacon Hearts!"][/caption]


  1. I love this post and your battles against the excuses. I remember hearing something from Focus on the Family that holiday traditions help build a strong sense of family, and a strong sense of family help build secure little individuals. I don't know, but it was all I needed to excuse my love for celebrations!

  2. It's sooo easy for me to come up with excuses, but I know I can't let them win out!


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