In the hustle and bustle of today’s fast-paced world, my family’s holiday traditions are some of my most cherished treasures—specifically, my mother’s gift of decorating our home every year. Mama not only crafted beautiful holiday traditions for me and my siblings growing up, but also for my children at every home we have lived in. So, as the holiday season comes into full swing, I want to pay tribute to my mother who is truly a remarkable woman.
When I was a child, holidays in our household were simply magical. Mama has always had a gift for interior design. The holidays were her favorite time of year, and she always adorned our home with the most amazingly beautiful decorations. When Russ and I married and started our family, his job required him to relocate often. Mama would fly to wherever we lived and decorate our home. We would discuss the colors and theme that I wanted, and she would bring my vision to life. She transformed our home into a winter wonderland. She even put a tree in each of my children’s rooms.
We came to look forward to her annual decorating trips. Her taking the time to come decorate our homes was her gift to us, and it was the best gift—better than anything that could be bought. I felt just as excited about those decorations as I did when I was a child. Just as the Christmas lights shined and twinkled, my mother’s love added a little sparkle to every holiday season. But Mama’s influence extended far beyond the garland, ribbon, and lighting of the tree; her love helped to shine the light that lives within me.
I have so many fond memories with my mother, and not just around the holidays. Perhaps one of my favorites is when she came to my elementary spelling bee. I was so nervous that I misspelled my first word. As you can imagine, I was discouraged and disappointed in myself. I remember walking off the stage with my head hanging down and sitting down next to my mother who was in the audience. Mama wrapped her arms around me, squeezed me tight, and told me that it was okay—that I was still her little superstar. That moment was a reminder that she loved me unconditionally. She did not allow me to feel sorry for myself or beat myself up. She reassured me that I would learn from this and do better at the next one. Her mantra was always, “Do your best, and God will do the rest.” Her love gave me great confidence, even when I made a mistake.
My mom had a dream of becoming a decorator and interior designer. Like many women, she put her dreams on hold to raise me and my siblings. She found joy in decorating our homes every year instead of creating a business and doing it for other people. Sadly, mama was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2013, and this has prevented her from decorating our home like she used to. She was disappointed and sad that she could not decorate for us, but she never let it dampen her spirit. She has continued to be my biggest supporter and encourager. When I was in my darkest moments, my mom sent me scriptures, text messages of encouragement, and cards in the mail. I could feel her love poured into each word of every message.
Mama, thank you for teaching me how to display grace while faced with insurmountable pressure. You showed me how to show up fully as myself without worrying about what the world thought of me. Your lessons molded me into the woman I am today. You taught me to have a heart for people, a commitment to love and to serve, and a dedication to doing so authentically.
By continuing our Polote family holiday traditions, we honor you, Mama. Your love, your artistry, your wisdom, your phone calls, text messages, cards, and hugs are the gifts that keep on giving. You have left an indelible mark on our hearts, and your legacy will forever live on in every beautifully decorated room and in the kindness we show to others during this special season—and always. Thank you for being the heart and soul of our holiday traditions. I love you, sweet Mama.
Sis, what are some of your favorite holiday traditions and what are the stories behind them?Leave a Comment