Making Your Season {Merry}

It's 3:24 in the morning.  My tonsils are swollen and sore, a canker sore is at full tenderness on the underside of my tongue (just what you always wanted to know!); the Squirt fell asleep around 7:00 PM, woke up at 10:30 AM, and has been awake ever since, mostly self-entertaining, thank you guardian angels!  I've slept on and off but woke up due to screaming tonsils to gargle warm salt water, attracting his notice, and am now attempting to find sleep again in the fetal position while my wordlessly loquacious almost-three-year old climbs all over me.

I might as well share all those Christmas-y pictures that I never got around to posting.

(Currently, I can hear that my son turned the tap on in the bathtub, and I know he's sitting in it fully clothed, socked, sweatered, and all.)

So, my (belated) home Christmas preparations:

I'm happy with the gradual Christmas decorating I did this year, taking out and adding things in stages throughout Advent.  I've read that other people take out the winter-themed decorations and leave the Christmas things to Christmas Eve.  I like that, but in all honesty, if I was going to do it all in one day, it would never happen.

For wintery things, I like to look in my own backyard, so to speak.  By my own back yard, I mean . . . my parents' backyard.  I collected some of the prettiest, fullest, and biggest pine cones from the grass, spray painted them gold, and piled them in a festive basket.  (One can never have enough baskets; I have a theory that the amount of stuff one can find that needs storing in baskets is directly equivalent to the amount of baskets one happens to have; in other words, I can always find stuff to put in baskets).

Christmastime, oddly enough, is a time when my energy bills go down.  I know it's usually the opposite for most people, but in our small apartment, if I'm going to have an abundance of stringed lights up and on day and night, I might as well leave the electric lights turned off.  And do.

I light my Advent wreath throughout Advent as well, so that by the time Christmas Eve arrives, the candles are burned down to tiny stubs.  And then I buy some green, white, or red ones on clearance and replace them in the Advent wreath; I might put a thick white one in the middle for the Christ Candle.  I'm an enthusiastic regular-season candle consumer, so there's always the scented ones I buy on sale or the plain ones I buy in bulk and, of course, the votives on the home altars.

Now, this is one idea I've seen appearing, to my delight, in other people's homes.  And it's such a fun and easy idea:

I'd lost the how-to of making them into the distant memories of my childhood until about four years ago, when my parish called for free hands to come to a snowflake-making party in order to furnish the decor for our Marian winter ball.

I've been making them ever since.  Small ones, big ones, fancy ones, simple ones.  Since I only have one child under three, it takes a little bit of doing to get to full paper-flurry, so I keep all the ones I make each year and add to the collection.

With string, I tied the littlest paper snowflakes to the Christmas tree for a folksy, homemade theme.  They're light, shatter-proof, and not a big deal if someone rips them off the branches, unlike pricier, breakier ornaments.  Pictured here along with the snowflakes: some paper origami ornaments from Ikea (but you could probably find a tutorial online, I'm betting, and very easily make them yourself) a box of 99 cent candy-canes (again, not a big deal if the Squirt gets hold of them--and he does), a spool of festive wired ribbon, some cheap beaded garland I bought a year back on clearance, and three Scandinavian conical fabric ornaments.

After I took this picture, I added some wooden ornaments I uncovered in a storage box, a peppermint framed photo of the Squirt from last year's Santa-sitting, and a homespun ornament made from a recycled Christmas card, scrap-booking materials, laminating sheets, and ribbon.  Also functions as a bookmark.

To make this little seasonal photo collection complete, I should have a genre for the food, but I never got around to baking much this season, much less putting together a pretty photo banner.  Still, I somehow managed to gain somewhere between five and ten pounds.  Oh well.

Someone bought me a sweet little cupcake, though.  Forgive the picture repeats, but enjoy the Picmonkey abuse:

I get a little OCD carried away.  But there it is.  We did buy a real tree this year, actually more of a bush, because a fake tree costs just as much, if not more.  This one is potted and so is a long-term purchase I can justify.  We got it at a local farm, and I asked to stuff a gaping shopping bag full of boughs clipped from the bottom of purchased trees.  They always place them in a large, conspicuous pile, and the wreath-maker can usually be found right next to it winding the flexible limbs around metal frames.  But there's far too many for her to use up.  So this year, and the last, we were allowed to take extra greenery home.  Free and festive, it's probably my favorite part of the winter/Christmas decorating, and the most traditional.

That's my easy, nearly-free, commercial Christmas.  Timed perfectly to when you've got to start taking things down (if you haven't already).  It's now past four o'clock in the morning her.  The ibuprofin has set in, the pillow is calling my name, and the toddler is soaking wet.  Have a good one (night, morning, rest of the Christmas season)!




  1. I'm leaving my Christmas decor up till the Baptism of the Lord this year! Usually the Boy Scouts want to take the tree the day before Epiphany, but this year I put my foot down. :D

    Also... yay, strings of lights!! I wonder if Lou would let me put some up all the way around the crown molding and leave them year round? ;)

    1. Yes, lights are so festive and suitable for any time of year!

      I'm aiming to leave all the decorations up to the official end of the Christmas season as well. *nodnodnod*


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