Why I Will Never Buy A Real Christmas Tree

Why I Will Never Buy A Real Christmas Tree

It's probably not why you think
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I will never buy a real Christmas tree. I know, I know, that sounds like a harsh statement, maybe even a challenge against the spirit of the Christmas season. But, as terrible as it sounds, I do have a legitimate reason for my Christmas tree abstinence. It’s not because of the prices, or because I believe cutting the trees down is a sin against nature. It’s not because I hate Christmas, or because I don’t want to have the hassle of cleaning up tiny, sticky pine needles for a month. I don’t have an opinion on tree prices or cutting or clean up. And I certainly don’t hate Christmas. My reason for refusing to ever buy a tree is simple. I am allergic to them.

Yes, you read write. This poor, unfortunate soul is allergic to Christmas trees. When I was growing up, picking out a tree from the local grocery store (I know, real classy) and then keeping it alive and watered for the next month was a tradition. We decorated it with different colored lights and Hallmark ornaments and regularly vacuumed up pine needles from around the base. And every year, without fail, I got walking pneumonia. At first, it was a coincidence, then a concern, and finally, a realization: maybe there was a reason I couldn’t breathe normally for the majority of December.

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was eleven, after a very long and scary attack during which I lost enough oxygen to make my lips and fingers turn blue. It was not fun. 10 out of 10 would not do again. While my diagnosis meant a rather strict medication regime for a while, it also meant my family got some understanding about my annual walking pneumonia crisis. My doctor ran an extensive allergy test to find out what things could trigger my asthma attacks. Along with physical activity and smoke, tree pollen—specifically pine—was one of my biggest triggers. Since it would often take days or weeks of exposure to the tree for my asthma to get bad enough to lead to pneumonia, the correlation wasn’t clear before. But after that simple test, it was hello oxygen, good-bye Christmas trees.

So I will never buy a real Christmas tree. Call me crazy, but breathing is a little important to me. My family has invested in a somewhat realistic fake tree that sits in our sunroom year round. Not because we’re super excited about Christmas all the time; we’re just too lazy to take it apart and put it in the attic every year. In the end, I guess I get the better end of the deal. Christmas tree scented candles don’t bother me, so I can enjoy the scent without the mess or price. And I get to do it all year long. While breathing. It’s really not such a bad trade.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.gatesmillsvillage.com

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10 Bible Verses For Thanksgiving

Psalm 34:1
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The Thanksgiving season is a time we spend with our loved ones giving thanks for the blessings we are given. Here are 20 Bible verses that remind us of what Thanksgiving is all about:

1) 1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2) Colossians 3:15-17

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

3) Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

4) Psalm 30:12

That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

5) Isaiah 12:4-5

And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

6) Hebrews 12:28-29

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

7) Jonah 2:9

But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay Salvation is from the Lord."

8) 1 Timothy 4:4-5

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

9) Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

10) Psalm 100:4

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpapers Pro

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What Christmas Means To Me: An Atypical Prayer

You are where my life began and continues to grow, and the love is always unconditional, never ending, and felt as soon as you walk in the door.
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This last Christmas, my grandfather gave me the opportunity to write the grace and prayer that is read before Christmas Dinner. Though it may not sound much like a typical prayer or a traditional grace, it sounded a little something like this:

"When I think of Christmas, I think of this moment right here. The one where we are all gathered together, bound together by love in a place where so many memories have been made. It’s the time that we get to spend together that makes Christmas so special, not the presents, not the food (though it is delicious and I’ll never say no to another one of Grandma’s cookies), but instead the bond that we continue to strengthen each and every year when we come together.

So this Christmas, I am thankful to be surrounded by a family that loves me. As I said in an article of mine that came out earlier this week, “never is the love in my house one-sided”, and that rings true here today. God has given us this holiday not only to celebrate Christ’s birth but also to remind us that the love of this family is never one-sided. It reminds us how special this family is, and how lucky we are to have one another.

I could not ask for better people to have in my life. I could not ask for better grandparents to teach me so many life lessons and to be there whenever I needed someone to turn to, parents that raised me into the strong, independent, and loving young woman that I am today, and a sister that I’ve become so much closer to this year and am proud to call my best friend. I could not ask for a better aunt and uncle that have never failed to make me feel loved and are always there to support me in everything that I do, and cousins that always take time to make sure I’m ok and give life advice that has helped shape who I am as I grow up. I could not ask for better little boys to be my little boys and bring joy and laughter to my life, and a dog that makes me happy to come home and I can always count on for kisses.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but not for the reasons many people may think. It’s not because of the presents, or the cookies (though I do love them so please make as many as you can Grandma), but because of the love, I get to experience on this day. Family is where life starts and the love never ends, and in this family, this rings true. You are where my life began and continues to grow, and the love is always unconditional, never-ending, and felt as soon as you walk in the door.

Merry Christmas, I love you all with all my heart."

Christmas may be over, but the words in this prayer still ring true. Though people change and every holiday is different in its own way, these words will forever ring true.

Cover Image Credit: Nancy Summer

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