Happy Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord! (Otherwise known as the last day of the Christmas season, technically speaking.) This morning at mass our pastor asked for a show of hands as to how many people had already taken down their Christmas trees. When half the congregation did just that, he shouted: “Go put them back up!”
Ours is still standing – a withered, crispy version of its former self – not because I’m an ace at following the liturgical calendar, but because I do nothing early and almost nothing on time. Last year I think it was (cough, cough) March before we got all our Christmas decorations down. (I’m hiding behind my hands here. Can you tell?)
Anyway, on Facebook I promised folks a little Christmas tour of our home and I hate to break my promises – I really do. So here are some poorly-executed pictures of my incomplete Christmas decorating, just under the wire.
Well, I did finish the tree. I think it sat for at least a week before I decorated it, but decorate it I did. Lovely. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking at the thing every time I go up and down the stairs – droopy, crunchy, and falling apart though it is.
Unlike our previous two Christmases, I did actually get out all of our Christmas decorations this year, and I did actually arrange things on all (four) of our first-floor mantles. (Win, right?) What I didn’t do, though, is artfully arrange fresh greens among the décor and lace them with lights. Sigh… wouldn’t that have been beautiful?
(I know, I’m being trivial. But my mother always does a great job of decorating for Christmas and for me, that greens + lights thing is what makes it. Sit me in front of one of those softly-lit Christmas-scapes with a glass of eggnog and I’m one happy camper.)
Anyway, here are our mantles, sans lighted greenery.
As to how we celebrated the season(s) itself, I feel like we took a tiny little baby step forward from last year’s Christmas, but we were still nowhere near where I’d like to be. (To be clear, I don’t aspire to have the overachiever’s dream Christmas; I long for Advent and Christmas seasons in which all of our rooms are comfortably useable, nobody’s running around stressed out, and we get to take the time to sit and enjoy the specialness of the seasons.)
This year our dining room was out of commission for the holidays because it became the dumping ground for everything I couldn’t find time to deal with. (So sad, kind of stressful.) We didn’t do that cool open-a-book-for-every-day-of-Advent thing, we didn’t get to any Christmas baking, we didn’t do any crafts, we didn’t hit the Christmas parade, we didn’t even all head out to look at Christmas lights as a family. (Boo-hoo.) We sent out our cards late.
But we did send out cards.
We did an Advent calendar and we worked on teaching the boys the Hail Mary with a daily (er, we tried to do it daily) recitation while pulling a link off the Advent chain my son made at school. We made it to the Santa breakfast and also to see Santa at the mall. We watched Christmas movies and read Christmas books. On Christmas morning, we ate a “picnic” breakfast in front of the tree and the fire. (That was particularly lovely, but a little confusing to the boys: “Why are we eating on the floor?”)
We did Christmas gifts that were simpler than some, more excessive than others: Santa brought each boy a toy, a puzzle, and a book. The boys each gave one gift to each other and we gave them each a few more. Then of course the grandparents did what grandparents do.
My own favorite gifts are shown here: a beautiful art print from my sweet husband (I love livestock) and a framed series of baby photos of my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and me, given to me by my grandmother.
We had a little sickness, a little rushing, a little not-getting-to-everything, but it really was a lovely Christmas here in our family. I hope yours was just as nice!