Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I posted this originally last December but I thought it still reflects what I think about Christmas... so, here were my Christmas reflections about a year ago... and today.

I remember coming to the end of a Christmas season about ten or twelve years ago and wondering at my frustration. There were no severe money trials that season, nothing that should have kept me from enjoying Christmas but... I couldn't put my finger on it... there was this sense of a lack of satisfaction... an unsettled feeling.

Soon after that, I was reading an article (magazine... book?) about this very thing. In it, the author said she learned to write out what it was she wanted from the Christmas season, what was most important to her. When I started doing that, I realized why the previous season had been lacking in joy.

It had been a rushed Christmas, the "doing" of many activities I felt I should do and not "being" the person I wanted to be that Season. My frustrations stemmed from a lack of getting away, alone beside my Christmas tree, enjoying that which comes from prayer and study and reading of books. I also had not said "no" to some outside activities that did not bring peace and joy.

Since that time, I have enjoyed making a list each season. My list has changed since that time due to health and finances but only in the "big" things. My list back then included attending a Christmas concert that I loved each year. However, it became too expensive even when we did have a regular income. It wasn't that much of a priority that I'd spend more for tickets to a concert then I would on a week's worth of groceries.

Another item on my list that has gone by the wayside is hosting a big Christmas party. I loved decorating the house and having a lot of people over but that season is now behind me. I remember one very magic (Narnia magic) party in our former house when we invited over Stephanie's college group. There was a tree in the family room and one in the living room, a fire was burning in the fire place, food placed in various areas, conversations were going on in many rooms of the house.

Later that night, as the young people were leaving, one student came up to tell me that night will be one of his "perfect Christmas memories" when he leaves college. It is one of my perfect memories, too. :)

I have found by making a list of those things I love about Christmas, I can make certain what means the most to me (and for my family) becomes a priority for time and money. Here are a few for this year, written out on paper before transferring to my scrapbook journal. Of course, I can't do them all but any of them on the "wish list" would make my season bright.
  • Decorating the house with my snowman collection
  • Carefully placing all my ornaments on the tree
  • Morning quiet times in the dark, with the tree lit
  • A breakfast out at Cracker Barrel during Christmas
  • Lunch with the guys at our favorite cafeteria
  • Holiday Baking
  • Candy Cane Lane tea
  • Listening to the music of the season
  • Watching favorite Christmas movies
  • Reading favorite Christmas books
  • Seeing what yummies The Food Channel comes up with this year
  • One or two Pumpkin Spice Latte's to enjoy
  • A morning at Panera sipping coffee and writing a real letter
  • Visit my sister, Bonnie, to see how she decorated her place (she has that wow factor)
  • Send a small gift to my sister, Jean, knowing it is her first Christmas as a widow
  • Send Christmas cards to our elderly aunties
  • Visit my favorite "downtown" primitive country store... breath in the scents, no purchase necessary
Most of my list this year involves more solitude than in the past. It has been that kind of year. None require much money.

This is only a way of thinking through what brings joy... and peace... and faith... and what lifts my thoughts to the One Who Made Me.

Little satisfactions in the most wondrous and magical time of the year.

I encourage you to brew a little pot of tea and fill your favorite tea cup, bring along a notebook and pen, light the Christmas tree if you have one, and think about those things that bring joy to your heart at Christmas. Are you making time for them? Did you budget for them through the year? What makes your heart sing with gladness?

You don't need to do them all, just choose a few that will cause you to look back at this Christmas and smile... and remember, Christmas is not about the price of gifts or how many are given, it is about the Giver of all gifts.


Senkyoushi said...

I needed this post right now. Thanks so much. I'm going to work on my list...

matty said...


Such a thoughtful post! These are things that I have been thinking for several years, but felt that I was alone in my thoughts. Less is definitely more. I would rather have time than money, wouldn't you?

Thanks for another inspiring post!


Beth said...

I have so enjoyed reading your blog. We are just going into the Christmas season so I haven't really been bogged down with the stressfulness of it all yet, but still feeling that I'm overwhelmed. This is the second message I have heard/read this morning about making a list...OK, God. I hear you! I'm going to go make my list....

Anonymous said...

We're trying it a bit differently this year. We made a list of all the things that normally do in December, then crossed off all that felt like CHORES. I just kept remembering that last December, what I wanted to do most was just sit down and cut out paper snowflakes to hang in our window and I didn't have time to do it until January. This year, I want there to be "snowflake" time...time for spontaneity.

kellyquinn7 said...

I would love to hear your favorite Christmas books and movies. I am getting ready to read Astra by Grace Livingston Hill and my favorite movie is Little Women...

Packrat said...

We don't do Christmas until almost Christmas Eve, but I enjoyed and agree with your post. Also, wanted to tell you I love the music on your blog. Sometimes I leave it open just so I can listen.

Anonymous said...

A great Christmas movie is "Christmas in Connecticut".

Friend Debra

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Perfect. I decided I want my Christmas filled with nature..... not from stuff I bought in a mall or over the internet..

You said exactly what I was thinking....

More later,

Linda said...

Thanks for you list because it made me think. I'm not really in the holiday mood yet, but I'm trying to get there. I'm definetely doing less this year and choosing what I think is the most important. I'm choosing to let go of certain things and it feels good. I'm simplifing my life more and more and Christmas is a really good place to do that. I want to make sure I keep the holiday spirit though and your list is a good place to start. Thanks again. Linda

carla said...

Lovely post.

As I was reading, I thought about what I would put on my own list. So before reading yours, I wrote down my Christmas wishes (the attainable ones).

No surprise: we both listed reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies. And as much as I'd like to see your sister's house, I'll settle for our annual home tour in one of our surrounding towns. Ours doesn't have the wow factor, but theirs do, and usually with a vintage/antique flavor.

Don't have a favorite country store around here anymore, but the Lone Star Antique Mall will do the trick. And maybe lunch, there, too.

Sure got me to thinking....

Rita said...

I noticed as I read your blog entry that you have the gift of time. When I retire in a couple of years I hope I too and blessed with the gift of time. I will come back to this blog and remind myself and go over this list that you have made. I'd better bookmark or save it. Thanks a bunch! Merry Christmas!!