Happy Holiday dear readers!

Most cultures have some sort of Winter Holiday. A time when people band together to both figuratively and literally shine light on the dark and lonely months of winter. It is not an accident that these times of communal celebrations fall on the winter solstice – a time when the day is shortest and the nights are coldest. Humanity gathers its strength from one another in these bitter days! Whatever the culture most winter holidays celebrate light; the dominant American holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all have “light” as a central theme.

As a Christian, my favorite time of year is right after Thanksgiving when I can put out the strings of lights in the front yard.

Suburbia Lights Up For Christmas

(This is not my house.)

Now that I have a family my wife and I have noticed that our Christmas tree has taken on a very distinctive “Powley Family Christmas Tree” vibe as we add new family ornaments and our kids bring “special presents” from school. I’m not sure how I hadn’t realized this before but this year I realized that there are generally two kinds of Christmas trees. There are the “Catalog” trees like the ones you see in Pottery Barn ads or TV commercials.  The trees that people put on Pinterest.

All the ornaments match thematically and are evenly distributed. The color scheme is well thought out. The lights are perfectly aligned. The tree is beautiful… but, well… boring…

The second kind of tree is like my family’s tree. No ornament is alike. Most are hand me downs or were handmade by our young children.  Many have family picture. Most of the lights work. Some of the ornaments are broken after our tree fell last year. The more delicate ones are above the reach of a dog’s wagging tail or a child’s curious hand. The paper dolls and plastic cereal box prize ornaments have been lovingly placed in a 2 foot radius by our youngest son. There is certainly not a unifying color scheme. 

The monetary value is low, but the sentimental value is off the charts. It is absolutely the most beautiful part of the boise right now.

I was thinking about this at school today as I watched students taking my Final Exam. Our classrooms are a mishmash of personalities and experiences. There is not a unifying color scheme. Some students come from a family where hand me downs are precious and others come from more wealth. Some are damaged from some crash in their lives. Some need to be placed in a more protected area and some have a lot of support and can handle a bump or two.

Our classrooms, especially at this time of year, can be a light in some kid’s darkness. Our classrooms are a beautiful collection of memories and experiences. Our classrooms are a place to be valued and nurtured.

However you choose to send these winter months I wish you a deep and heartfelt Happy Holidays from my family to yours.