Decorating for Christmas

It’s that time of year when I spend lots of time decorating the house for Christmas. When I was working I had a very stringent schedule, prepare Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, visit the relatives on Friday, put away the fall decorations and clean on Saturday and after church on Sunday decorate the house for Christmas. Now that I’m retired I sometimes forget I can use all the week days.

Decorating the house means dragging all the boxes up from the basement and then going through each box, ornament by ornament, Santa by Santa, angel by angel, snowman by snowman to try to find just the right spot for everything. This is the time of year I’m envious of people that have been in their same home for decades, they just open the boxes and place everything in their appointed places. For those of us who have moved way too many times, like 5 moves in 15 years for me….it’s been a struggle to match the decorations to the space. In the 5 moves, some things were left behind or just tossed.

My favorite decorations are the ones my kids made when they were little, the Christmas Nativity pyramid powered by candles and the colorful collection of Nutcrackers my folks bought in Germany the years they spent the holidays with my sister and her family overseas. Also precious to me are the few ornaments my husband and I have added to our collection since we’ve been together these past 10 years.

When I was helping one of my daughters clean out her basement, I was reunited with my Christmas Village where it had been carefully stored away for safe keeping during one of the many moves. My challenge was to find the right spot to set up the village, complete with the fake snow, laden with glitter that leaves a trail of sparkle throughout the house, the houses that light up, and the little fake snow covered pine trees. Thankfully I found a perfect spot for my little village.

It’s amazing how we can get so attached to the stuff during this particular season, especially since everything we pick up reminds us of that period in our life. Memories of loved ones no longer with us, of friends who have moved away and children who are now grown and have young ones of their own. It’s a wonder that between digging up the past; good, bad or indifferent, coupled with the unrealistic expectations of what’s expected during the holidays, that we’re able to power through until at last on Christmas Day we’re able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of all our labor.

This season, I want to take my own sweet time and go lovingly through each box and keep what makes my heart happy and give away or toss the things I no longer need or want or will fit in our small house. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about the stuff, it never is, stuff can always be replaced, rather, it’s about the people in your life that you love. That’s the nice thing about the decorations, especially the ones that remind us that our loved ones are always with us.

Making Lists

Making Lists

“Making a list, checking it twice”. we all know where that’s going. How many out there are list makers? I plead 100% guilty to this habit of constantly making lists. Sometimes I’ve actually caught myself making a list of the lists I need to make! That usually happens around the holidays when I struggle to juggle the schedules of our family that includes our parents, six grown kids, their significant others, and our six gifted and extremely talented and very loud grand-kids. Have you ever wasted time on Pinterest or Amazon looking for just right vehicle to use to make your list? Have you seen the really cool journals you can use to make the lists? Of course, once you get the new journal, you just can’t use an ordinary pen or God forbid a pencil…you need the right type of pen, preferably in many colors, and you need some fancy stickers, and some type of tape…and then you get hooked into watching a 20 something set up a journal on Youtube. Of course all of these lists could be made on the back of the envelopes that we get on a daily basis letting us know we’ve just been approved for a new car or a credit card!  But there is some type of satisfaction in the ritual of both writing the lists and then the best part, crossing off stuff you’ve accomplished! Writing lists is how I arrived here today with my very fist blog post. I made lots and lots of lists during the year preceding my retirement, it mostly helped me to get through the endless flights when the battery died on the iPad when I was stuck in a seat without a plug…So here’s to lists and journals and retirement..stay tuned, there’s lots more to come!