Cuz I am DONE with my Christmas shopping!!!!
Now, I do still need to take the boys shopping for their gifts to give(although I am trying my darndest to get my dear husband to take that task over, for this year at least). At least E is finished as well. Much wrapping needs to be done, but at least the purchasing is complete.
I should have all my Christmas cards done by tonight and ready to mail tomorrow, except for a couple that I don't have addresses for. Even the ones for our church family only need to have photos and letters stuffed in them, and then sealed.
Keith mailed all our packages today, so those are done as well.
All the Holy Days decorating was done on St. Nicholas' Day (December 6). During that day E carefully put up the ceramic nativity scene on the mantel over our woodburning stove, with greenery and white lights behind and a candelabra (holding two red and a gold candle) on one end and a hurricane lantern on the other, both decorated with red bows. After clearing our usual knick knacks and books from most surfaces in the living room, I put out our snowman collection on the small table between the front door and the Christmas tree, and the collection of music boxes joined the mantel clock on my great-grandmother's treadle sewing machine. Red bows jauntily chher up lamp shades, wall lamps, candles, baskets, etc.
The gorgeous handsewn Advent calendar (made by Keith's sister) takes up the wall behind the dining table (which is our school table nine months out of the year). On the table, built by Keith, we place a century-old white tapestry napkin, and then center our angel on it, surrounded by two red candles in brass candle sticks. The angel is too heavy for our small tree, but she makes a lovely centerpiece with her flowing white satin gown and beautiful brown ceramic curls and purely glowing face. On the wall behind her hangs our Christmas card holder, made up of green and red flannel with the words Savior, Messiah, and King each on the three pockets. The boys also used dental floss to hang tiny white snowflakes from the dark rafters of the living room.
The kids put up the tree, and we decorated it after dark to the music of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. First, the clear lights, then the strands of gold beads are carefully draped. The tree is topped with a wide red bow hung with golden bells below. Then I slide the wire hangers onto each ornament as the kids come to take it and hang it on the tree with care. Most are handmade, either by family members or friends; most have an important memory attached. Some are carved scenes and Scriptures from St. Luke that tell the Christmas story, along with a new cross I bought this year, also engraved with Scriptures from St. Luke's Gospel.
Outside on the front door hangs our new greenery wreath, along with a green corded Christmas tree that my mother macrame'd with red wooden beads when I was in junior high, and a "Merry Christmas" sign my brother painted for us at least fifteen years ago. We don't do lights here as no one can really see the front of our house. (I wouldn't mind some icicle lights under the eaves of the front porch, but Keith hates hanging lights.)
On the kitchen table stands our wooden Advent wreath that Keith made us -- greenery and purple decorations wrap around five candles: three purple, one rose, and one white in the center. The Christmas place mats that Keith made for my grandparents (all deceased now) when we were first married grace the table that he also made. My snowman cookie jar supplants our usual classic Winnie the Pooh on the kitchen counter, and my window sill above the sink is filled with candles and a miniature nutcracker.
I just need to cut some greenery closer to Christmas for the tops of my bookcases. And once we're done with school (after tomorrow the 15th, that is), I'll stow away our books and decorate the top of the encyclopedia bookcase with candles and baskets full of pine cones from our own trees.
So we're well on our way to relaxing for most of the Holy Days. What a blessed time to curl up with family, a roaring fire in the stove, candles, carols, good movies, and satisfying books!
So blessed Holy Days to all! And to all a joyful heart!