When it comes time to decorate the house for Christmas I have these visions of a Mayberry Christmas. We’ll bring down the boxes from the attic, set up the tree, listen to carols while sipping hot cocoa, and smile and laugh while we decorate the house. The reality is a bit more chaotic.
Since last Christmas we’ve moved twice. We got rid of a lot of our Christmas things when we moved, so there were only a couple boxes to bring down from the attic. A mouse had, at some point, gotten into one of the boxes and left… treats. So that box when in the trash. The remaining box was opened and went something like this, “Why did we ever buy this? It’s so tacky!” At one point in the day I said to John, “I don’t want it to look like Christmas threw up in here! I’d just like simple and nice.” He just laughed at me, but agreed.
Buying a whole new set of Christmas decor isn’t exactly in our budget. But that’s fine by me because I love to improvise. So, I made a lot of our decorations by hand mostly using things I already had. John got into it too, and was thrilled when I had a crazy idea that would involve him using his power tools. So here’s a little tour through our mostly handmade Christmas.
Our tree is kind of a “Charlie Brown” tree. After two days one of the legs on the base broke and I was upstairs when I heard the thud. Mareto was so worried about the tree and ever since he’s been saying, “Careful! Tree will fall!” You can’t tell here, but John tied the tree to wall to keep it up, but it’s starting to lean again. I made the tree skirt using an old white sheet.
This was John’s project and it turned out even better than I had imagined! He collected some discarded wood pallets, disassembled them, cut them all the same length, and reassembled them on a frame. Then I stained the wood, let it dry, and John hung it on the wall with some twinkle lights in the back for a festive feel. I strung twine on the front and attached Christmas cards, crafts, and such using tiny clothes pins.
Since we don’t have a mantle I used a shelf we had stored in the attic for stockings. I grabbed some $5 fabric from walmart and sewed the stockings by hand since my sewing machine broke. The yarn puffs are addicting! I cranked out a ton of them to put all throughout the house. Our little dining room chalkboard got a Christmas make-over, too.
We like to keep things simple at Christmas. We don’t go over the top with decorating and events. Gifts are kept very simple. John and I agreed several years ago not to get each other gifts. I know couples who absolutely love to surprise each other with gifts, but that’s just not us – we have other ways of treating each other special. We only get the kids two gifts each: a set of new pajamas and a book or toy. Don’t worry – their grandparents, aunts, and uncles spoil them rotten! We travel each year to be with family, so keeping things low key and simple helps us relax and really enjoy the Christmas season.
We don’t worry about all the things we “should” be doing. If we want to do advent readings we do – and if we miss a day, or ten, we don’t worry. Each year looks a little different and we aren’t too rigid in how Christmas looks for us. There’s so much peace to be found when we let go of our expectations and our idea of how things “should” be and just enjoy the people God placed in our lives while cultivating a spirit of gratitude and contentment.
How do you celebrate the Christmas season? Do you go “all out” or prefer a quiet, simple holiday?