Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Rambling Randomness

This nativity set was a gift from my folks to Kip& I on our first Christmas as a married couple. It sits upon the piano. Baby Jesus and the manager live out all Advent long. Some (such as my sister) are adamant that Jesus be placed in the manager on Christmas day. It seems like something that I would feel strongly about it, but I never have. In our set Jesus is attached to the manager, so we have just always set them out when we set it up.

On the Day of Decorating the House for Christmas we begin by hauling the boxes out of the attic, turning on Russ Taff's Christmas CD, and donning Santa hats. Then the work of transformation begins. And if I have remembered, the family will drink eggnog to boost their energy.

The kids decided to repeat their house decorating performance of last year and do it by themselves again. Hubby was engaged in a sewing machine project. So, I immersed myself in the taking of many photos -- on our new digital camera.

Assistant Mom directs the youngest and prepares the ornaments to be hung.

I was glad to be taking lots of photos for I needed a job to do. Next year, I do think I will get in on the ornament hanging at least since I miss reflecting on the ornaments and the stories associated with them.

We've hung our stockings on our bookshelves because we don't have a chimney.

We put our advent wreath together and have lit it and have sung Christmas carols. (This is a tradition that I felt empowered to begin due to the blog post on Like Mother, Like Daugher HERE and also on The Simple Wife HERE.) Begin, start. Do something. It is often better than nothing and better than never getting around to it. As I heard at a recent organizational seminar "Sooner is better than perfect." And I did it that year...when I read about...not necessarily at the beginning of the season.

The tree before it has been fluffed or decorated.

It doesn't have to be perfect but do it. Make a decision. Go for it. I think I often get caught in the trap of making special holiday memories for the other adult's in my life that I think are critiquing (but no one is -- who has time for that in all the holiday busyness?!) and I tend to forget about the desires of my children -- wanting a happy mama, the wonder of the season with creating some anticipation. So it is not the most perfect Advent wreath but it is a tradition we have begun to do. (Interested in the first year that I did that? Read HERE.)

Our advent wreath a few years ago.
The base looks the same; we just have different colored candles this year
(always with one different).
We lit them during dinner and do our other Advent things after dinner
during Storytime with Daddy (when we're home).

We have an wooden advent calendar that we use each year. And now I see that my children really do know the details of the Christmas story. The repetition of a deeply layered story helps us peel it back each year. And as we read the The Living Word that is active to divide between our soul and spirit, each of our hearts can have something freshly revealed each season, each day -- if we are able to quiet ourselves and allow ourselves to hear it.

I love this plate my sister gave me a few years ago.
And in an unprecedented design move for me
I bought this stand for a Thanksgiving plaque that I bought.
And now, behold, it also holds our Santa plate!

And so it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas again around our house. It was a lot easier again this year because we have a 6, 10, 12 and 13 year old. They are all here. They like being here and contributing and helping and giving their strength to our home. And I benefit. It is a beautiful thing. So different from the years of all babies and toddlers all of the time (which were beautiful, too, in their way, just more physically demanding.) We have been here for awhile now. But, we are still adjusting to this new place of young men and women at our house (with youngest still full of energy, wonder, antics and loudness to keep us not so wondering where we are in this loud and sticky life.)

We have even purchased a few gifts, I have the Christmas photo for the letters ready, the envelopes purchases. I have started on most things. Done something on most of the Christmas lists. I have sent off my Christmas wish lists to others. I am ahead of where I usually am at this time of year, but without an exploding sense of "I need to get this!" And that makes me a little nervous, actually.

Because it is December 9th and we do need to ship gifts. And we are far from having all the gifts purchased and wrapped. Far from having Christmas cookies baked, much less frosted, and other special seasonal treats prepared. Next week is crazy busy with lots of festivities which really begin with a full, fun day tomorrow.And at least one -- if not two events -- starting on Wednesday through next Sunday. (I do love the parties and events, though, it is certainly part of the spirit of the season for me.)

This week seemed peaceful enough. Yet, I don't know that I have accomplished enough of the to-do lists to navigate next week without feeling overwhelmed.

Favorite ornaments that also look like the figurines in little advent sets that
a dear woman from church gave to me on the birth of the third child.
They each love to take their own set of figures to play with each year.
Since we pack them up with the Christmas stuff, it helps them to be more special.
Each child puts them in their own box that they decorate how they want.
(Each child has been through more than one box and the child that is into wood-working has made his own stable out of wood.)
Thankfully I found a fourth set after the child was born at Hobby Lobby six years ago.
I haven't seen them since but also haven't searched for them either.

But I would rather choose peace. Choose to walk peacefully through the potentially chaos of events. I cannot go back and do more preparations for the days ahead. I can only walk in this moment. And as a friend often reminds me, Do the next right thing.

So I will sign off this blog post and hit publish (because sooner is better than perfect.) And attend to the needs of the children.

And a special welcome to the Company Girl Coffee folks -- I have missed you!

May we all navigate this season with peace with the Prince of Peace as our guide who came that He may abide with us all of the time.


  1. I love your Day of Decorating the House for Christmas traditions, especially the Santa hats! What fun.
    I know what you mean about seasons... this year we could not hang lights on the tallest peak of the house (over the front door) because neither of our two tall sons could be here. (Even with the stretchy ladder, Hubby can't quite fasten the lights in place up there). The older son is in Iraq in the Army. The younger one (in college) at least breezed by with Girlfriend for dinner, and they stayed to help decorate the Christmas tree. It's all very different from the "old days," when our whole family was here and we all called it Home. BUT this season is great, too!

  2. This post makes me feel peaceful. Thanks for sharing the season.

  3. Looks great! I am so ready for those more pleasant days of decorating! We still have a three year old who likes to help...a lot! It is painful to say the least. I confess, sometimes I wait till they go to bed and decorate then...hey, it is a fun surprise when they wake up! Hope you have had a nice, peaceful weekend!

  4. Yay for a new camera! : ) I'm sure you are thoroughly loving it.

    Such a fun post to see your decorating and your Christmas-y house! Can't wait to catch up on Friday.

  5. Beautiful post and lovely photos. Love seeing your decorations. Hooray for a digital camera! We are slowly collecting decorations, so we will have a Day of Decorating too....sooner is better than perfect. ;)

  6. I'm going to cling to that phrase "sooner is better than perfect" every day! So often I don't do things because I feel like I should have started it sooner and it's too late now. But you are right! Sooner is better than perfect! Visiting from Soli Deo Gloria today...Merry Christmas!

  7. I'm struck most by this: children want a happy mama. I want to be that happy mama for them. I'm thankful by the grace of God I can be. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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