Borrowing Amish Christmas Traditions

My big decision this morning: How early should I get to the Gap to return a sweater to avoid long lines? I did the bulk of my shopping over the Internet right after Thanksgiving. Humongous sales and free shipping urged me to buy too much. The packages arrive daily. And since I hosted a brunch the first week of December, our Christmas tree’s been decorated for weeks. I admit it’s artificial and came strung with lights. If you don’t look too closely, it’s hard to tell, but I miss the woodsy smell I adore. Ah, I recall my professorial father muttering under his breath as he struggled with the lights back in the good old days.

cold Amish winterLast night, I lay awake pondering an Amish Christmas, a time of joy, excitement, and gifts, but also simplicity and gratitude. (Good article by Erik Wesner) I appreciate my mailman, and UPS and FedEx drivers, who manage to keep their spirits light amid the city’s traffic and hubbub, but is all this stuff really necessary? What if my car won’t start (it’s a 1995 and has a new rattle) or the shops are closed? Or UPS and FedEx goes on strike? What if a family member or friend needs me? All busyness will be set aside.

I imagine myself in an Amish farmhouse kitchen baking cookies and pies, constructing homemade gifts, watching after toddlers-a room filled with activity and laughter, and the greatest aromas on earth. I can feel my anxieties lifting. I think I’ll put off my Gap return. Today, I’ll try my hand at an Amish recipe, spend time with friends, and embrace the season of joy.