Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - My Annual Sunday Before Thanksgiving Blog Post

I thought about not posting this since the world has changed so much in almost two years.  Then I decided that is exactly what I need to do.  Like you, I can still take this list and use it to plan a meaningful Christmas season. After all, He is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow.

I'm going to share it with you now as I first wrote it in 2008. My own list has been tweaked a lot over the years. As this Holiday season continues, I will share more about this season's priorities.  Remember, I do not try to do but a few items on each year's list, I just brainstorm lots of ideas.  In the meantime, below is the original post:)

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, to see how she decorated her place (she has that wow factor)
  • Send a small gift to my sister who lives out of state
  • 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.

Image: Autumn Rain by John Sloane (I bought his wall calendar for 2022)


Amanda said...

What wonderful ideas! I am definitely going to make a list. I am taking the month of December off from all appointments. Enjoy your holiday!

Vee said...

It's going to be a lovely calendar year. I went without last year using a free calendar from the hardware store. It brought me very little joy. Must get that attended to pronto.

I have done this more years since you began talking about it. I find it most helpful.

Deanna Rabe said...

Always a good thing to remember who we are celebrating, and to do it in ways that are meaningful to each of us and our families.

I never go over the top, but we do love to share our home and hospitality all year, but especially at Christmas. I'm hosting our Mom's group from co-op for a Christmas party on the 9th, and I don't have definite plans for other gatherings, but it will be fun and special.

I like quiet times of reflection, too, and perhaps a trip to the tea house for a scone and pot of tea!