Previously posted in December 2008.
Yesterday, I spent most of the day with my friend, Anne, who I absolutely love! Her home is lovely, just lovely. She's been having some health issues and so I got to help her decorate her home. We hung garlands in her entryway along the banisters and outside on her porch railings. Then, I put the lights and berries on her fresh tree. On top of all the fun, we had lunch and we got in hours of visiting. It was the best! She kept thanking me for what I was doing and I kept thanking her for letting me do it! How lucky am I to get to decorate for someone else too! Loved it! I may even go back in a few days and do some more finishing touches, if she's still not up to it and willing to have me back! She had beautiful things to decorate with and I loved it!
I was impressed by the beautiful family heirloom treasures, preserved through generations, beautifying her home throughout. We are all . I commented about how very different people are in their decorating tastes and styles, as I moved some 75 year old candleholders from the mantle to place the garland. They were magnificent pieces of art, handcrafted in the 1930s by a great-aunt. She showed me other pieces in her home that were equally unique and special to her. In thinking about it later, some homes are just filled with the latest and hippest goods from stores that I adore, such as Taipan, Rodworks, Sugar and Spice. And other homes are filled with cherished heirlooms and precious memory-filled keepsakes like Anne's. Mine is a bit of both.
A few weeks ago, another friend, speaking of trends, mentioned that the icicle lights are no longer the cool thing to have but now it's giant colored LEDs. I thought I love the icicle lights hanging down over my home and that's what we're going to have because that is what I LOVE ~ cool or not! Holidays are such a personal thing. Doug and I grew up with such different backgrounds and the holidays is one of the places that our differences show the most. He has slowly come my way over the 32 years that we've spent together. BUT. The simplicity of his upbringing and the over the top ways of mine are still blatantly obvious as we plan and organize our holiday season each year. Thankfully, he lets me have my way on most of it and enjoys the ride, as long as I avoid Doug's "four letter word" ~ d-e-b-t!
Growing up, my step-dad's home was the Chevy Chase "Christmas Vacation" lit home. People would drive from miles and cars would line up for blocks to see it. Dad was on the news every season being interviewed about his lights. It was amazing. Dad loved Christmas and I think that I caught his spirit, for which I'm grateful. We don't have fifty thousand lights on our home. Ours is a simple few strands, a lit tree in the bay window and netted lights over my front bench, which I pray every day for fresh snow to keep the bench lit up under the blanket of snow. Simple. But. It speaks to us!
A long way to my point but...just because the neighbor has that a house like my dad's, we don't need to. Or just because Martha Stewart has the holiday happening of the year, we need to try to match hers. Do and have and celebrate what speaks to you and don't worry about the neighbor or the over the top friend or even the Scrooge down the street. Like with my friend, Anne. Her beautiful antique treasures fill her home with the spirit of Christmas (and all year long) because it's what she loves and it's beautiful. Like another friend of mine who would never use a thing in her home two years in a row during the holidays, it's what makes her happy. It, too, is beautiful and her family enjoys it that way, which is fine! So the point...Don't spend a second fretting that you aren't "up to par" in your holiday decorating, traditions, activities, giftgiving, etc... Remember what Christmas is really all about and make your own celebration unique and special in a way that makes you and yours happy. THAT is, in my opinion, the most important key to happy holidays!!
Gift idea: Here's a darling and inexpensive gift idea. How cute is this?! It's simple and quick to just score and fold the cardstock, add a few embellishments and tuck the holiday socks into their place. I'll definitely be picking up some holiday socks after Christmas for Gracie and ZJ to make as their friend gifts next year. It would also be a fun thing to do and attach a gift card for their teachers!
Bright idea: I love this idea, also suggested as a tradition at our Sisters Senior Single Family Home Evening Monday night. This family gathers together once in December to make homemade donuts. The children help in decorating them and then they deliver them to friends. How fun is that?! We are going to do this next Monday night with my friends Carol and Jamie and their families. It's going to be the replacement activity for making snowhouses that Carol and I have done together in years past. I'll have pix to share Tuesday!v (Donut Night 2011 is this Sunday night! We can't wait!!!)
Good food: I'd planned on making this dish for breakfast this morning, but we had unexpected company drop by last night, which was a blast! So, I never made it back to the kitchen last night and we're having oatmeal today instead. But! This is a tasty, tasty breakfast and so quick and simple to make! It could be a great Christmas breakfast treat!
Reason for the season: Short and sweet today. Realize that with only a week until the big day, make time today have a conversation with your family or a friend about the Christmas Season and why we celebrate it and really listen.
Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'.