Trees, Trimmings and Reminders

christmas_tree_269196_l.jpgIn time for St. Nicholas, we got our tree, trimmings and decorations up in the house.  Rather than stress about buying a delightfully rich, prickly, aromatic tree, we’re recycling my ‘n-law’s older artificial tree.  I must say that putting it together with the older kids was much more fun than our usual tree run.  The tree was put together earlier last week.

Saturday evening I made several trips into the attic, bringing down our miscellaneous outdoor adornments and our plastic tubs full of decorations and accessories.  Plastic in attics acquires this greasy, sticky coat of yuckiness.  Christmas carols in the air or not, my hands were coated.  I pulled the stuff out of the tubs.  Plush, singing animals, fake garland, embellished towels, figurines, etc., etc.  The kids were excited and hurriedly put the items in their place.   This is our fourth year in this house.

It occurs to me that in much earlier times, most people didn’t have the kind of storage we have.  Real Christmas trees were as much out of necessity as anything, let alone the lack of plastic.  Perishable decorations and real candles were of necessity, too.  When the holiday passed, set it out for the animals, chop it up, return it to the earth in some fashion.  No attics full of boxed trees and mangled lights.  Surely there was a trunk somewhere that had the Christmas linens and a few other tokens of the holiday, passed down through the generations.

Yet even with my grimy hands, I nostagically read past Christmas cards and letters from friends and family, wondering who I would hear from this year and whether I would get mine done on time.  I washed my hands and made the family some hot cocoa, not from a package mix.  The carols still played.  The kids were still excited even at 9:30pm.

As I stirred the milk in one of the mugs, my dearest hubby leaned against the refrigerator, watching me.

“So, is this what Christmas is to you?” he asked. 

I grinned, thinking he’s being sincere, wanting to be sure my holidays are being fulfilled.  “Well, I suppose.  Warmth, carols, hot chocolate, Christmas movies, twinkling lights and candlelight. . . ”  I could have continued all the things I love about winter with the magic of the season, but he heard a pause and broke in.

“Well, I know you buy into this whole commercialism thing,” he says with authority and a puffed out chest, “but for me, it’s all about the birth of our Lord.”

I laughed out loud, and he grinned mischievously.  You have to know us well to appreciate the humor of it truly, to understand why I called him a smart ass and pushed him away, still laughing.

I made the hot chocolates.  I admitted to myself that, yes, I’ve bought into the commercialism.  But now the advent wreath sits in the middle of the table all day, and I await the celebration of a most special birth.

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(Beautiful photo from everystockphoto.com, by jynmeyer)
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No Time Like the Present

No matter what your political persuasion, I hope everyone took time to vote today.  I got in my ballot last week, sans children, though it’s a great idea to get your kids involved, too.  It might also be worthwhile to document your feelings on this “landmark election” for its “historical” value (as all the talk keeps saying).  Truly, your grandchildren might ask you about it 50 years from now.

Not as pressing as voting, but perhaps of great importance to those little ones expecting surprises in upcoming months are those holiday gifts.  Ah, yes.  I said I wouldn’t put it off this year, and I did it anyway.  My husband said we are not glazing on Christmas Eve this year, and I do not intend to be working those last stitches Christmas day on whatever knitting project I end with!  So, now’s the time to finalize our list.

You better believe the only items we’ll be buying are basic supplies.  No pre-packaged retail gifts, except maybe books.  If you need some ideas, here are a sampling of ours.

  • Scarves — sewn or knit
  • Slippers — felted (if I can learn in time!)
  • Pottery — various hopefully practical items
  • Hats — knit
  • Gift boxes — paper/cardboard; sometimes the packaging is part of the gift, too

If you don’t have time to make your own goods, remember the importance of buying local, supporting work-at-home moms, buying handmade and being as eco-friendly as possible.  “Google” any of those topics if you want a slew of information.  If you choose the “recycling” route, make sure it’s not tacky and will be okay in the situation.  A good friend of mine does not appreciate that her children’s gifts are garage sale finds when everyone else gets a packaged new item.

Enjoy being thoughtfully creative.  The love and care you put into a
gift is as much a blessing to the receiver as the gift itself, if not
more so.

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