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Christmas, in all its glory, rests in the hearts of those who endear the Christmas scripture: a story of love, giving and inspiration. Make this Christmas holiday a Once Upon a Christmas story for your family.

Simply the greatest gift you can give your family is the love you can share as you slow down from your day-to-day living. Experience the true spirit of Christmas no matter how much or how little time or money you have to prepare, decorate or shop.

Memories of my family gathering through the holidays telling family tales are as timeless as the stories themselves. Create those memories; tell those tales. Talents of your family and friends can be part of the celebration the day of or in advance of the holidays. Whether it is singing, playing music, cooking, baking or decorating, have all involved. Nothing has to be perfect, just a joy!

Deck the Halls

When decorating, infuse mementos of holidays past. A mantle of snapshots of past holiday gatherings or Grandma’s antique ornaments in a special bowl for table décor make family take note that it’s time to slow down and be thankful, worship and enjoy family and friends. Reflect what is important to you about the holidays in the style you all create together, and personalize it. Select the treasures you already have for a fascinating exhibition with fine trimmings, bold patterns or an eclectic mix of richly colored textiles and lights or candles to create a festive holiday atmosphere. Whether you live in an apartment or in a large home, group collections of like items work well together providing less clutter and more interest.

Give From the Heart

‘Tis the season for warm smiles, cold noses and gifts. The gifts that leave others speechless are the ones already in your heart – you just need to speak them. One Christmas well-remembered by my children and my husband was one when we had no money for anything but food. I bought food items that could go into our stockings we had hung on the mantle. I wrote a note of funny things that each of our family members would laugh about. To my daughter, who loved knock-knock jokes and did not eat bananas, her orange said, “Orange you glad I’m not a banana.” The children went back and re-gifted each item throughout the holidays with their version of humorous notes. Our gift to our children was how to live an extraordinary life with the blessings we had been given. Their gifts to us that Christmas were blessed memories.

In our area, the season’s dazzle of thousands of lights illuminating homes with a radiant holiday glow is not only a tradition, it sometimes becomes a competition. Forgo the competition. Simply enjoy the fascination residing around each corner. Rekindle that childlike wonder as you and yours enjoy the local traditions and family festivities, and have a Merry Christmas!

Transforming Bland to Grand