Why We Decorate Our Tree BEFORE Thanksgiving

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Recently, when my husband posted pictures of our family decorating our tree last week, his post received a lot of feedback…some positive and some, well, let’s just say Ebenezer Scrooge would have been proud of some of the comments.  I decided to do an informal poll of my Facebook followers (you too can become a Facebook fan here) to determine how others felt about putting up the tree before Thanksgiving and found similar results.  Responses ranged from “Do what makes you happy” to “Noooooooo.”  So, in order to enlighted everyone…and convince you all that I am right (as usual) I decided to share why our family decorates our tree so early.  Warning: I’m pretty convincing, so you may want to read this when you have a couple of free hours, because you may just want to jump up and start decking the halls!  So, without further ado, the reasons we decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving…


To Get My Children In The Mood For Giving

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Every year, my church participates in Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse.  This is an amazing ministry that reaches children all over the world, yet it is simple enough that even my smallest child can participate and feel she is making a difference.  In a nutshell, Operation Christmas Child is a way to share God’s love by packing shoeboxes with small gifts for children in 130 different countries around the world.  You can choose to pack a box for a boy or a girl, and with a $7 donation you can follow what country your box travels to.  Interested in packing a box this year?  There is still time, but you need to hurry.  Because they need to ship all over the world before Christmas, collection ends November 25th.  Head over to Operation Christmas Child to find out what to pack in a box, or to find the nearest drop-off location (there are 10 within a 50 mile radius of my home!)  Don’t have time to go out and fill a box manually?  No problem.  You can Build Your Shoebox Online!  No excuses, right?

So, you may want to argue that the Christmas season doesn’t start until December 1st, or maybe Black Friday.  But at our house, we strive to celebrate Christmas in a way that honors the real reason for the holiday, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.  God sent his greatest gift, and it is our joy to share that gift with others.  So, in this house, the Christmas season begins when we start packing our shoeboxes.


To Have a More Relaxing December

Last year, my family began celebrating the 25 days of Advent in a special way.  Instead of candy in our Advent calendar pockets, I placed tiny envelopes with the day’s mission written inside.  Some days are an act of kindness.  Other days are a family activity, like baking cookies or going to see Christmas lights.  (I’ll be sharing more about our Advent activities next week.) The entire season was planned out before the month began, so it went pretty smoothly, but it did make for a rather busy Christmas season.  However, with activities like decorating already out of the way, we were able to spend more time on things that I always wanted to do, but usually couldn’t because we couldn’t fit them in.  Imagine waking up December 1st with your home completely decorated, your month of family celebrations all planned (including all items on hand for each activity) and your family ready to celebrate the true Reason for the Season.  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  Trust me, it is the nicest way to spend the holidays.


To Set the Mood for the Season, that is The Reason for the Season

Beginning mid-October, retail stores start displaying Christmas items.  With so much competition, it can be difficult to keep children focused on the real reason we celebrate this holiday, the birth of our Savior.  Since the stores are already competing to sell my family the commercialized version of the holiday, I think it is imperative that my husband and I keep the focus on Christ early on.  So, it is important to decorate the tree (um, trees…we have a few), set out the nativity scenes and just enjoy being together as a family mid-November before the rush of the season hits full steam.  Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is like an entrance ramp to the autobahn of Christmas…a full speed race that doesn’t slow down until about January 2nd.  Let’s slow it down by stretching it out a bit.


Because Christmas is for Children, and Kids Want the Tree up Early

Have you seen how cute my kids are?  The minute Halloween is over, my children begin asking when we will put up our tree.  Who could resist those adorable little faces?  Plus, seeing their eyes light up every night when the tree is turned on is enough to make me want to put the tree up in August, so I think I am showing quite a bit of self control waiting as long as I do.  I mean, really…have you seen how cute these kids are?

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Well, there you have it…the reasons we decorate our tree before Thanksgiving.  Whether you have been motivated to pull out those ornament boxes or just shake your head at my reasoning, I hope reading this did one thing for you…I hope it made you take a look at the next several weeks and take a deep breath.  Christmas time can be one big blur of busyness if you aren’t prepared.  But, with a little planning and a few special moments decorating with your kids – whether today or December 1st – I believe this can be the best, most Christ-centered Christmas your family has ever had.

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Jenifer Jenifer (93 Posts)

Jenifer is the author of Not Quite Mom of the Year, mother of six beautiful children ranging in age from 2 to 18, wife to Randy, and follower of Jesus.

9 thoughts on “Why We Decorate Our Tree BEFORE Thanksgiving

  1. Wow, You are pretty convincing about decorating before Thanksgiving. I’m not dragging my decorations out but considering turning over a new leaf next Christmas. I know I should start this Christmas but I’m far from ready for Thanksgiving let alone Christmas. After reading your point of view I felt like scrooge through and through. Why did I forget what Christmas is all about? I’m thinking of all the running around to get gifts and fighting the crowds. I forgot about making Christmas fun for my family instead I was thinking of reaching the finish line. Doesn’t help I had Christmas gifts stolen out of my vehicle last year. Thank you for posting your opinion, it helped me reevaluate how I see Christmas. I need to be less like scrooge.

    • Stolen from your car! Oh my word Renee! It would be hard to not be a Scrooge after that. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I hope this Christmas you and your family enjoy God’s richest blessings. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I just love you Jen! And I know why Randy does too! Unfortunately, you did not convince me to put up the tree yet, but still, I admire you for how you have taught my nieces and nephews the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is LORD!

  3. Hey Jen! I enjoyed your argument but I must say, I don’t agree. That being said, I love putting up the tree and look forward to it every year. I try to get it up the day or two after Thanksgiving. I think you can do the Operation Shoebox without putting up a tree as well as really starting to set the tone for keeping Christ in Christmas. I just think Thanksgiving is too quickly forgotten and we have so much to be thankful for. Just my two cents…

    • Hey Shane! I agree…Thanksgiving is often forgotten (especially now that the stores are opening with Black Friday-ish sales!) And you are right…you can pack a shoebox without putting up a tree. That is just how we do it for our family. I hope your family has a great Thanksgiving!

  4. Christmas can be so beautiful!! I just love the whole season. I love the idea of starting out at about August too; lol!! The operation Christmas Child part of your post brought me to tears ….
    I am Holy Spirit filled and an intercessor. So; to see Halloween celebrated distresses me. (greatly!!) I have desired to come up with my own version of a Halloween party ( a joyous warfare!!) … I wanted to have a costume party where everyone dresses up as a character from favorite Christmas movies … from The Nutcracker to Polar Express to Frosty to Miracle on 34th St. (etc) I can wait to see who will be “Heat Miser”. We have moved alot so we havent done this yet … BUT THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT!!! I hope to do it. I would like there to be “caroling” and even a gag gift exchange…. I can think of so many ways that this could be done.. LOL Im going to share this idea with my new church!! Maybe it can become a community experience thing ………… hmmmmmmm

  5. And I love seeingthe tree up DURING THANKSGIVING!! It complements and makes the Glory of this season just so much more ……….. It also is a great backdrop for family photos. Some of my family can make it for one or the other Holiday only, not both, so this creates an opprtunity for wonderful phtos as well.. ( I like continuity in alllllllllllll things, lol — especially my decorating) and there is always the factor of devloping the decor in stages too. I love a decorated house………..

  6. We start putting up Christmas just after Halloween. We love Christmas and everything about it makes me smile. And I agree, December is much more relaxing when it’s all done early. Although I have to admit that the blinds stay closed until the day after Thanksgiving. We don’t want our neighbors to think we’re nuts :)

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