Saturday, January 09, 2016
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Christmas past and future
Christmas 2015 has been packed away and back on the shelves in the garage. It reminded me of the Christmas episode of one of my favorite British comedies, The Good Neighbors (known among the British as The Good Life).
Margo was not happy with the size of the tree she had received so she sent the entire shipment back to the store. Only to find out that there would be no deliveries after that so all her Christmas was in the van so "Christmas was not delivered". I think of that when each time I pack up our Christmas decorations.
As I have written, I chose to sparkle this Christmas. I used almost all of my decorations so it took some time to set up everything, take down everything, and carefully pack away everything. However, it was worth it for I truly enjoyed all the sparkle in the midst of a dark world.
God taught me long ago (and I am certain it was from Him) that I need to go ahead and make my surroundings lovely even if I am the only one who appreciates it. Including... and perhaps most importantly... during Christmas.
Each year that I can, I prepare for next Christmas in a few ways. First, by carefully packing the ornaments and decorations. It makes it so much easier to decorate the following Season when everything has been packed carefully and fragile items wrapped with tissue paper. A very long time ago, we invested in Rubbermaid style containers to protect decorations from water damage. That was a good thing two years ago when the pipe next to the shelves burst in that frigid winter!
Secondly, I always like to purchase one or two items at my favorite store when they have their clearance sale. It is like I am giving a Christmas gift to my future self and keeping on budget. Every year that I have done this, when I open up the box where the item/s have been placed, I'd absolutely forgotten I'd bought them! Every. Single. Year. ;)
I used to stop by Goodwill more often after the Holidays as I have found a lot of people where I live donate their items to charity rather than store them. Perhaps because it is a college town and people are often moving? I'm not sure but I used to take advantage of it. While I may purchase an item throughout the year (remembering I have enough so it has to be really cute!), I don't make a point of looking for Christmas items at thrift stores these days. But it is a good thing to do for people just beginning their collections.
Quite often I will learn of a new book, music, or devotional relating to Christmas during the season and it (they) will go on my Amazon Wish List, to be considered as a purchase with credit throughout the year. I don't own a lot of books that are brought out only at Christmas since the kids are grown... but there are enough to make Christmas reading special. Same with music!
The third thing I used to do and I'm inspired to do again is to think of Christmas throughout the year and plan for it. My inspiration has been renewed by Annabel of The Bluebirds are Nesting. Great blog for Pantry People. (Link below.)
I want to make a few Christmas gifts throughout the year but I especially want to create cards ahead of time. I still have "Write Thank You Cards" on my To Do list because I want to make them. How much better it would be to make various cards throughout the year when I have the time.
Stephanie and I have talked about this for birthday cards. She makes beautiful cards but she is so busy, she often doesn't have time when the birthday arrives. I found myself in the same pickle (so to speak). So I'm taking Annabel's challenge in making items throughout the year.
When both of my children were much younger, I did shop for their stockings all year long. I was always on the lookout for small items I knew they would enjoy... and by doing so, the cost was spread out throughout the year. It was especially fun to look for small items on vacation, at an amusement park, or while visiting a town with quaint shops.
This year I'm finding the house dull after all the sparkle left. So I've been tweaking items... moving this, changing that, trying another place for a favorite picture, returning the lamp that looks better in the family room to that room! It is easy to do when the rooms look so bare.
I do read books about Christmas all year and listen to music now and then. But the real sparkle is during the Season. There is something in the atmosphere. As I wrote, it is like Heaven kisses the Earth during the Christmas Season. It is... to me... a tiny taste of the Beauty to come.
So, here are a couple of links:
The Bluebirds are Nesting Christmas challenge... here.
Lanier's recent post about Missing Christmas. I quite agree. Here.