I spent a delightful few hours decorating for Christmas this week. Even though we have not brought out a single box of decor and have no Christmas tree yet (ha, did I say I was hosting a Christmas open house for you all?), it was still fun to get started with what I have.
Maybe even more fun because I didn’t have to rummage through boxes! At least not yet, until we get our tree this weekend when my kids are all here to help!
I love to able to decorate using what I already have and especially love decorating with things that feel festive but are not typical Christmas decorations. This year, though, in addition to a strand of fresh garland from Costco, I did get a new set of little holiday plates (from World Market) and some polka dot napkins to add to my Christmas table. As you know, most of my dishes are white but I love having a few little holiday dishes and festive napkins to mix in. I’ll take more pictures of the table later when I’m all done. Plus, I’ll have to get pics of my mantel! I think it turned out pretty cute for just using what I had again this year!
Here is Jack. Looking all innocent right before “the garland incident.”
What is really making decorating memorable so far this year is my boys. My son and his big fluffy dog Jack. Jack, our 35 pound 6 month old Goldendoodle puppy, has never experienced Christmas before and he was ENTHRALLED by the good smelling fresh garland I put on the stairs.
He was so excited over the garland he was being rather funny (OK, and slightly frustrating, I won’t lie). He kept sneaking around the other side of the railing while I was working on the garland. Then he would start untying the string with his teeth so the garland would fall down and then he would chomp on it like it was a tasty green salad. Of course, I would run around to the other side of the railing to stop him from eating it. Ha ha. Funny game.
Then just to be extra annoying he’d grab the little starfish I was putting up and run like crazy to get away from me while I chased him to pry the starfish out of his mouth.
He loves games like that. I do not.
Jack needs to star in his own movie, that dog is always up to something. I cannot even tell you how much mischief he gets into. All.day.long. We do our best to entertain him, I promise. We are with him 24/7. He is not neglected. He has toys. He has bones. He gets played with. He is just one of those very curious busy playful puppies. Kind of like some kids. If I had more time, I’d just do a blog about Jack. It would be much more entertaining than my usual posts, I’m sure.
Caught in the kitchen with the starfish.
But aside from prying starfish out of Jack’s mouth, my favorite part of the afternoon was when my son got home from school. I wish I had my video camera handy to capture it, his face lit up when he walked in the front door and saw the garland on the stairs (yes, I put it back up after the little fiasco with Jack) and he saw the mantel all decorated, the dining room table was all festive … he was SO happy!
He started listing off all of our Christmas traditions he loves and asking where we would put the tree this year. He remembered that last year I decided to not get a big tree and he wasn’t happy about it. He wanted to go back to the tree farm where we got the tree the year before. He remembered every detail of that Christmas tree cutting experience. Oh my heart!
My son’s happiness over the few things I already decorated just reminded me how much our family traditions and holiday decor actually MEANS to my kids. Being that my son is our youngest, and there is quite a few years between him and his siblings, it is easy for me to forget the “magic” of the holidays. Even though I LOVE Christmas!!
When times are tough, like a few years back when we moved at Christmas after a year of unemployment, or the last few years for us being really strapped for time and money and under extra stress, it is easy for us adults to let go of a little bit of that sparkle around the holidays. And sometimes I just let myself get lazy and simplify TOO much, thinking it is the right thing to do because I want to be more intentional, but then I leave out things that really do mean a lot to my kids. I need to remember to see Christmas through their eyes.
Of course, Christmas is not all about the decorations and we need to teach our kids what really matters. We don’t want to lose the real meaning in a sea of Christmas boxes. And of course we need to be intentional about how we spend our time, let go of our guilt to be super moms, and simplify as much as we need to, but it is also important to remember traditions this time of year and not let go of too many of them. My girls are always reminding me to keep up traditions for their brother! I love that they watch out for him like that.
Even (especially!) when time is short, money is tight or spirits are down, it is important that we hang tight to a few special traditions and make them memorable. We may not always be able to provide the big tree or the matching Christmas jammies for all the kids, and that is OK! But when we can keep some simple traditions alive, it is a good thing for us and our kids.
Yes, decorating and traditions might require a little more effort than we feel like putting out, or we might have to find a tad bit more energy to set up the little Christmas villages if the kids love them, but that extra non-monetary effort just might boost your own spirits more than you expect!
Just seeing my son’s excitement (ok, and Jack’s exuberance) over Christmas this year reminded me of what it felt like to be a child (or a puppy). Christmas is a magical time for them! And they are young for so few years, childhood is over in the twinkle of an eye.
I’m making this year count, for sure.
How is your decorating coming along? Here was my first step in holiday decorating! I hope you are having as much fun as I am :-) …