Cherishing Christmas

Over the years at Christmas I have made decorations by hand for the church tree, filled gift stores with paintings and crafts, made hundreds of bracelets for the Christmas Fair, baked for the bake sales, and tried to attend every Christmas festivity offered. Those years left me burned out and tired, sitting on Christmas morning asking myself where Christmas had gone. In years gone by I decorated the entire house in just one day. This year instead of doing, doing, doing, I am simply being.

Years have taught me to take my time and just savour each day. This year I am decorating little by little. My house at the moment is a little bit Thanksgiving and a little bit Christmas. Pumpkins have snow on top and Christmas lights are permanently on, because we can't find the gizmo that turns them on and off, and it's just too icy to climb, or skate over to the outlet to unplug them.

With snow-covered pumpkins on my front stoop, and our Christmas lights still turned on, I decorated my wreath for the front door.

I just love tussie mussies and last year I found these wonderful ones covered in icicles. I wanted to have winter white against this flocked wreath with a bit of red.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, and these lovely little Santas wearing winter white fit perfectly with the theme.

Red Cardinal ribbon and a few red cardinals I purchased in a floral shop last year were tucked into the folds.

Last but adding just the right sparkle a bit of bling and sparkley stars were tucked inside the wreath. I wanted to add a bit of drama to our front door this year because we are back from the road a bit.

Taking my time and enjoying each day is allowing me to really love the details of Christmas. I used to be so frantic about decorating the house, controlling how the lights should look outside, and rearranging the oranments on the tree just so. Not this year, I suddenly have realized that the decorators are more important to me than the decorations...

My sixteen year old daughter and her friend put the Christmas lights up outside this year. Letting go of making everything just so, and enjoying watching her get into the festive mood was so great. It also allowed me to sit down with a cup of tea and watch from the window as they were bundled up on the cold winter's day giggling and doing a great job decorating the house with lights.

Now mind you a tree covered in blue lights probably wouldn't have been my first choice. And the cardinal and white Christmas theme are out of balance a bit, but I feel the joy inside that only imperfection can create. I always admired those homes that I went into as a child that were totally messy and cluttered, but they seemed so warm and comfortable. You remember the ones with coats piled a mile high at the front door and boots lying in disarray, yet good smells were coming from the kitchen and you just felt so darn welcome.

For some reason, our entire family is a bit broke this Christmas. We are being sensible enough to share this information before we max out a credit card or two. My sisters and I are making our gifts for each other like we did when we were young. My girls have already been told that Coach, The Ski House and Verizon will not be visited this Christmas, but they can expect one "Wish List" gift instead. Once we all agreed to being simple this year, the pressure was off and I felt like me again instead of some crazed Christmas snow bunny who needed to have a Martha Stewart home, wrap gifts like the ones found in Home Companion magazine and make perfect gravy for Christmas dinner like Grandma always made.

Tonight my nineteen year old daughter is coming home from college to help decorate the tree. We are all going to decorate the tree together. The Christmas tree has been standing in the living room bare for about a week now. For years I have set out to find the perfect tree, having the tree man unwrap numerous ones and carefully inspecting each one. Some years wanting to create some magical moment and asking the girls to freeze as we attempted to cut one down. This year I asked the girls as they text-messaged their friends if they wanted to come pick out the tree. When they declined my invitation I was quite content to go to the tree farm select the fist tree I found and have my husband come with me the following day to pick it up. It isn't Charlie Brown but it is ever so much shorter and trimmer than others we have had. I love that it looks simple because that's what this Christmas has become.

My husband usually puts the lights on the tree and we have him move them around until we are all perfectly satisfied. This usually takes quite a long time and he sighs as we usually make him feel like he hung them all wrong. This year instead, when he gets done stringing the lights, I'll say "thank you, they're perfect. " When the tree is lit and the ornaments have been placed on each branch, I promise not to rearrange the decorations on the tree. As my girls get older I cherish these days. Maybe I'll just watch them decorate the tree as I sit with a cup of tea and feel the love in the room. This Christmas Perfect? Hmmmmmmmmm I don't think so, but I know everyone will be welcome when they come in my front door, even if they pile their coats up and leave their boots scattered in disarray.

The song for this post really sings from my heart Just In Time For Christmas I have been shown what Christmas is about.
Mary Isabella said...

I am so glad that you found me so I could find you. You are a woman with such a sweet spirit. I loved your Simple Christmas post. I feel the same way. You say it so much better than I can . We too are facing a shortage of funds as my husband is a heart patient and requires alot of expensive medicines.We are so thankfulto be able to buy the medicine he needs. Is our God not so very Good. I love what you did with the Cardinals . As we are in Ky. That is our state bird. I too want snow for Christmas. I truly love snow and the white purity of it. Thanks again. We will talk soon . Mary

Janet said...

Thank you for your visit to my blog and for this post. I laughed because I used to be so anal about the tree and I think I scared my boys from ever wanting to participate. Now I hate doing the tree and no one is here to help. My own fault and a lesson learned:>). I can't believe that your Mom lives in S.B. also. Does she ever go to the Sr Ctr? My Mom has just started going and bringing her counted cross stitch to work. on. Uh oh the small world song is in my head ( and now yours...sorry).

Alison Gibbs said...

Karen I think sometimes we are expecting too much of ourselves by having everything perfect for Christmas when all that really matters is that we share the time with our loved ones and enjoy each others company.

Tea Time and Roses said...

Let me not ever forget the reason for the season.... Your decorations are beautiful Karen, and so is your spirit.

Merry Christmas


Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Nice post--thanks for the reminder!
Merry Christmas~

Kathy said...

Dear Karen,
Thank you for visiting my blog. I can tell from your post today that you and I have something in common, reinventing how we see Christmas, especially in light of the growth of our children. I am enjoying "decking the halls" in a whole new way this year, encouraged by the kind words of people like you. Please visit me again soon!
Love, Kathy
P.S. I adore the red and white theme of your wreath, particularly the cardinals. Have I said I love birds?

Lynda said...

Wonderfully said, Karen! My family is trying to keep Christmas simple this year and I'm so grateful for this post today. Have a great weekend! ~ hugs, Lynda xo

. said...

Very nice.

A Lilac in My Path... said...

Karen, it is me again! I just had to thank you for your sweet comment on the blog a few days ago. I am so glad we crossed paths...just wonderful!! :o) Merry Christmas to you and yours.



Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Your decorating is just lovely! I too take my time and that makes is so enjoyable!

Lin said...

Karen: Your home must be some holiday fairyland! What a beautiful tribute to the holiday!