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.


Heather said...

Good ole Margo. We love that show and have it in dvd. I also make my own cards including Christmas cards most years. This past Christmas, I started at the beginning of December and was not rushing to finish cards, just to mail them out. :)

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I have watched a lot of that show The Good Life. I thinks its fun! Margo is quite the character!

I love Christmas, and I find the house empty after taking the decorations down and packing them up until next time! I am taking my time putting the regular decor out.

I am going to add "The Bluebirds Are Nesting" to my friends list blog. I have "A Working Pantry" on there already. I think it is so wise to prepare.


ps- Oh and dear Lanier! How I've enjoyed her writing during this season. You both were joyous in your celebrating this year and it added joy to mine!

Anonymous said...

I So agree with your statements that there is something in the air at Christmastime and it seems like heaven kisses earth at Christmas! I feel it every year at Christmas, and often wondered if it was a bit of the childlike wonder of the magic of Christmas leftover in the deep recesses of my memory! For I do have happy memories of Chirstmas as a child and I've always loved Christmas. I also like that you decorate even if you're the only one who will enjoy it! I always feel a bit nostalgic whenit comes time to pack it all away....This year we just got most it packed away when I came down with the Crud! So, there a few bits and pieces still sitting out, which has kept the house from looking so bleak. Feeling under the weather, I've been drinking lots of tea and reading more, and have had more time for reflection....and reading blogs like yours! Thank-you for sharing!
Blessings for the New Year,
Laura (WA)

Vee said...

Having spent the day in "the attic," I am really feeling the pang. I did keep up a small tree with lights in the dining room bay window. It has been named "the winter tree" and I defy anyone to call me a baby unready to return to normal. I agree with Lanier, the things that bug me about my home don't at Christmastime. The good news is that we do not pack up Jesus and put Him away with the manger set. He is ours each and every day of the year. I am sadly not disciplined enough to create Christmas gifts all year through, I tried it one year and wound up giving things away through the year instead of holding onto them until Christmas. There you have it...I am hopelessly immature. Thank you, Brenda, for another thought-provoking, timely post.

Annabel said...

Thank you so much Brenda! You gave me a year of good reading and peaceful calmness last year and I know you will this year also!
I like your choice of word "anchored" too. In a sea of uncertainty being anchored is lovely. I think I need to take that on too.
Thank you so much for mentioning Bluebirds! With love (and happy new year too!) Love