The Best Christmas

The Best Christmas

The year we had very little money to spend on Christmas turned out to be our best ever! After a recent move to a new country, we’d had to leave behind all of our Christmas decorations, and I wondered how we could decorate our home, especially since we were tight on cash and had extra setting-up costs. Thankfully, one autumn weekend while on a forest hike, my kids got the idea of collecting pine cones and using these to make Christmas decorations. We began right away, and by evening we had a large bagful.

After that, every Saturday afternoon we worked together on our pine cone project. First, the cones were sorted by size and quality. Then the kids tied wire to each of them and attached them to a long pole. This made it easy to quickly spray paint them with a drop sheet underneath. Once the paint dried, they trimmed and shaped the wire so that it could easily be hung from the tree or a wreath.

Then it was decoration time. With gold and green ribbons and a glue gun, each pine cone was soon transformed into a unique work of art. The results were simple but beautiful, and visitors commented on how nice our living room looked.

The following year when the box of Christmas decorations came out of storage, the first thing on everyone’s mind was seeing how the pine cones had survived. As each one came out of its wrapping, there were exclamations of, “Hey, I found this big one on our hike!” Or “I put the bow on this one!” Everyone was reliving the happy memories of the previous Christmas and the part they had played.

I realized then that it doesn’t take a lot of money to create lasting Christmas memories. The fact that funds were low that Christmas was what inspired us to make the pine cone decorations, which ended up becoming cherished mementoes of a Christmas when we didn’t have much materially, but we had one another.

* * *

Heavenly Father,
Christmas began
With the gift of Your Son,
Who in turn gave the world
The gift of His life.
Let me remember, O God,
That Christmas remains
A matter of giving,
Not parties, not presents,
Not material wealth,
For Christmas is Christmas
When I give of myself.
—By Van Varner

Dina Ellens

Dina Ellens

Born in the Netherlands, Dina Ellens has experienced a variety of cross cultural settings ranging from the USA, where she was educated, to Asia. She taught school in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years and is now retired. Dina remains active in volunteer work as well as pursuing her interests in early childhood education and writing.

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