There were a few days after Thanksgiving when my family room was rather difficult to walk through. Florentine would give me a confused look from time to time. Apparently, she doesn't like clutter anymore than I do. I knew the mess I had created would soon be gone but she had no idea, of course.
I had brought in all of the Christmas boxes for two reasons. First was to go through absolutely everything this year and put together one final box going to charity of items I no longer use. It has already made a difference, having done so the past couple of years. I figure, as with many items now sent to Goodwill or another charity, that they may as well be getting used and appreciated rather than sitting in a box on a shelf.
The second reason I went through everything slowly was more nostalgic. I'm not sure there are many other things which send me down memory lane as unpacking Christmas decorations. I find ornaments my mother gave me when I was a bride, gifts from my children, and ornaments such as the needlepoint above which I worked on when my daughter was a baby.
I must admit that I now keep only those things that bring good memories. Having decided life is too short to hold on to those things that bring with them a cloud of disapproval or grief. There are plenty items in the Christmas boxes that bring cheer to dark days.
After a few years of sorting through the boxes and keeping only that which I love the most, decorating for Christmas has become something I can handle again. No longer am I cringing as I decide where to place decorations and how I will need to put everything away after the Holidays. No, every item has a home in a Rubbermaid container where they reside eleven months of the year. The putting away of Christmas is now as manageable as the decorating itself.
I have always liked to purchase something new each Christmas, perhaps as a way of bringing freshness to the season every year. These days I mostly add small items such as faux greenery and berries here and there, a small battery operated candle, or an ornament or two for the tree. For while remembering can be good, I always need to remind myself that today is where I live and not yesterday.
This is the first year I put the Charlie Brown tree up in the family room and I'm surprised how much I like it there. I guess change in traditions can be a good thing... once in awhile. As mentioned before, each year I am surprised at how lovely the tree looks once it is decorated.
The only "decorating" I still have to do includes the slicing and drying of small orange slices to perhaps string across the kitchen window. Just because it is a look I find lovely and well, I am choosing Beauty this year.
I suppose guests to our home may wonder why I still go to the effort to make it look cozy and Christmas-y for we no longer host parties or have a lot of company. (I have to rest the day after a Holiday dinner but it is worth it.) My answer is this... because I live here and I need to see the decorations.
It is the same reason I budget for a couple pretty Holiday magazines at Barnes and Noble, or a good cup of coffee at Starbucks or Panera, and perhaps a scone here and there. It is the reason I adore stopping by my favorite shop that sells Primitive decorating items and is filled with the aroma of sugar cookie candles at Christmas. By doing so, I am giving a gift to my five senses that life continues in spite of everything challenging.
I need to do what is possible in the face of so many activities now becoming more difficult. It may have been a hard year but as long as God gives us breath... He has a plan for our life. The journey may as well have some Beauty here and there, desired by us because He is the Creator of all that is Beautiful.
As I write, I have Christmas music playing on the CD player, battery operated candles flickering on my desk (necessary as I do live with a curious kitty who can jump up on said desk), and a couple pretty decorations. Just for my own joy as I work. The only thing missing is perhaps a Christmas cookie and a good cup of coffee but instead the coffee will be a reward when finished writing, with perhaps cinnamon sugar on whole wheat toast. That is sounding very good right now.
For we are not only remembering past years but making memories for future seasons. I'm thinking hot tea or coffee and cinnamon toast is a good custom to create after writing is completed. Most definitely.