My obsession with Christmas was passed on to me by my mother, and I'm more than happy to carry the torch. My mother has one of the largest collections of Christmas ornaments that I have ever seen, and so decorating the Christmas tree was always a major event. When the last ornament was hung, we would just stare in awe and wonder at its beauty. There were so many beautiful blown-glass ornaments. I remember one year we had just adopted a new puppy and we had to put up deer and rabbit fencing around the tree to keep him from breaking the Radkos.
Beside decking the halls inside our home, my mom always created a unique outdoor display. Each year, the display was completely different from the last. One year, she fabricated a life-size angel (well it was human-sized as I'm not sure how big angels are) out of paper mache. The angel's face was actually cast from her face, and I thought it was fitting that the hair was made of angel hair. The finished sculpture was attached to the front of our house.
Another year, she made deer out of straw with twinkle lights in their antlers. (This later led to a giant straw animals business venture.) A few years after that, she fashioned the three wise men out of straw, all life-size, complete with robes (one was my dad's!), gifts and camels. The side of our house had "Wise men still seek him" written in gold letters alongside a lighted star. It was a beautiful, meaningful display. Besides many great life-like displays, one year we had a giant lighted Christmas train with Santa at the controls. There were actual toys and stuffed animals in one of the cars. This display was passed on to adorn many other yards for the holiday season until it was finally retired.
The celebration of Christmas became close to a year-round way of life for our family. For several years, when I was teenager, my mom owned a Christmas shop which was attached to our house. That's when my collection of ornaments really started to multiply!
So that, in a nutshell, is the history of my obsession. Our outdoor displays are nowhere near the caliber of my mother's, but I am quite proud of our tree. It takes about three days to decorate. This year, we expanded to two trees—one for all of my ornaments, and another 6' tall one for our kid's growing collection.
While all of the holiday decorating and present buying is so much fun, I often have to take a step back and take a moment to remember the true meaning of Christmas. It's easy to get caught up in all of the details of the tree, the outdoor decorations, the meal planning, gift wrapping, event planning, Christmas cards, and on-and-on... but this season is really about the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. He came for us sinners, so that we may receive forgiveness and everlasting life. Try to keep Him in your heart this Christmas.