At the first hint of chill in the air, my thoughts turn to Christmas. My mind and heart begin to fill with visions of sugar plums indeed. My weekly menu turns decidedly toward comfort food and I begin rummaging in my brain for homemade Christmas gift ideas for my loved ones. I begin hauling out first the autumn decorations and later the Christmas, decking my halls and every other available surface. I take delight in the season, the magic, wonder and glory of it all. This blog was born from that delight. Here you will find dinner ideas, crafts, decor, stories, memories, and music. Some ideas will be entirely mine, but I will also include anything cute I come across that I think you might like to see, credit given to the creator or source. Please leave me your ideas in the comments and any other feedback you'd like to give.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Well, the outdoor lights are up. I didn't do the idea I posted about because I felt like I needed to get the lights with the bigger bulbs and I was feeling too cheap. Maybe I'll change my mind later on. It was a long process, what with the temperamental lights being fickle about whether to all light or leave sections of icicles in darkness. One last challenge is to figure out how to get the tree on the porch plugged in. I guess I need to go get one of those converters that will give me multiple outlets. (Update: I did get a converter outlet, the tree is lit. Now what to do about the one foot section of icicle lights that refuse to light?) I LOVE to see the house all decked out in holiday lights. It is worth every minute of each of the six hours spent fighting with lights and running around town collecting items I needed but hadn't planned for. I love the look of the white lights, though I'm just now coming around to accepting the icicle lights and not hating them for their faddiness, or fad-y-ness or something. But I've got to say that I sure get a warm feeling inside when I see multi-colored lights, too. Our neighbors across the hill have colored lights up and it really struck me this year (after I had already spent 6 hours putting up white icicle lights), how much I really love them for the sentimental value. I'm looking forward to putting up the tree in our family room, bedecked with colored lights and a mish-mash of ornaments from my childhood, our early married years, right on through to the kids school projects. In all my efforts to create a "magazine layout" look for my Christmas decor, I've come to realize that all I really care about and truly love, is a look that doesn't make it to the pages of decorating magazines. It is created over time, built with memories and traditions. How it looks is not the measure of its beauty, but how it feels. Seeing the popsicle-stick sled ornament I made in the fourth grade makes me feel happy, nostalgic, though it's not much to look at. The tinsel ball has all the stylish appeal of yard flamingos, but the memory of each of my siblings and myself each throwing one of the tinsel balls onto the tree at the very end of decorating it each year, brings a smile and contentment knowing that we all have our tinsel ball on our own tree now, a little something that connects us together though distance separates us. Each year I have a little laugh and thank once again the well-meaning teacher who thought my child needed to make an ornament out of a 4x6 picture of herself and a popsicle-stick frame. I don't forget to send up a laugh and a thank you to the primary teacher who thought the letter-size envelope mangers were a good idea, either. We have ornaments that were wedding gifts and some that were gifts from dear ones no longer with us. We have an array of ornaments we've made together as a family as a family night activity and ornaments that have been selected one at a time from a special time or a special place. None of these ornaments have a common color scheme or obvious theme, but what binds them together and makes a beautiful tree is love. And isn't that what the season is all about? God's all-encompassing love and the trickle-down effect: Our love for our fellow men, the reflection of God's love for us.

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