Picture this scene...
It's Christmas Eve. It's snowing outside. There's a fire crackling in the fireplace, casting a warm, orange glow throughout the family room. The Christmas tree in the corner glitters and sparkles with ornaments, garland, and lights. The gifts underneath have been lovingly wrapped in shiny paper and ribbons. Sitting on the coffee table is a big plate of chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread men. The family is snuggled together on the couch watching a classic Christmas movie and the pets are curled up on the floor fast asleep.
How does that scene make you feel? Warm and fuzzy inside? Is this the ideal you're trying to achieve when you decorate your home for the Christmas season? If the decorations, food, and TV specials make you feel good like this, then it stands to reason that the earlier you get started, the sooner you'll get to these warm and fuzzy feelings, right? Then you, my friend, are just like me. You are addicted to Christmas. You start by decorating at the beginning of December. Then maybe the next year you start right after Thanksgiving. Then maybe a few years later you put up your tree as soon as the Halloween candy is gone. Sound familiar?
Hello. My name is Jenny and I am addicted to Christmas. The first Christmas that James and I actually spent together after we got married (he was deployed for our first Christmas), I desperately begged him to let me put up our Christmas tree and lace the exterior of the house with strings of lights while everyone else was planning Thanksgiving dinner. He finally gave in and let me decorate on Black Friday instead of going out to shop for hot deals.
Christmas EXPLODED all over our house. Tree with lights, garland, and decorations. Evergreen garland and red ribbon on our fireplace and over every doorway. Stockings for us, puppy stocking for Piper, and kitty stockings for Miranda and Ariel. Wreaths on ALL exterior doors and windows. Christmas kitchen linens and china. Christmas hand towels in the bathrooms. I could go on and on...
I watched EVERY Christmas movie that came on TV and DVR'd the ones I missed so I could watch them later. In retrospect, I think I was subconsciously trying to make up for having to spend our first Christmas apart. We hosted a fantastic Christmas cocktail party and spent lots of time with family and friends. But by the time Christmas Day actually arrived, I was so burnt out and sick of Christmas that I couldn't get our tree down fast enough. Something just wasn't right.
Now, Advent is the four week period before Christmas
during which we are supposed to be preparing our hearts and our homes
for the first coming of Christ (ie, his birth at Christmas) as a
spiritual exercise to help us prepare our hearts for the second coming of Christ.
Christmas doesn't begin until Christmas Day, then we celebrate 12 days
of Christmas (thus the song) until the Feast of Epiphany (when we
exchange Christmas gifts) which commemorates when the Magi arrived at
the manger to worship Jesus. Advent is supposed to be a quiet
period of reflection and patient anticipation, but because Christmas is
so secular and commercialized it's very easy to get sucked into the rush
of the Christmas season. By the time Christmas actually gets here,
people are burnt out, exhausted, and totally sick of all things
Christmas... just like I was. And that kind of spoils it if you ask me.
get me wrong. I am still as addicted to Christmas as I ever was. Seeing pictures on Facebook of everyone else's decorations is killing me! I
love love LOVE Christmas. And what I would love more than anything would
be to have my house already decorated, our tree up, and drinking a cup
of mint hot chocolate out of my Christmas mugs. But I'm trying (REALLY
HARD) to go super traditional this year. I did a pretty good job last
year of stretching out my decorating frenzy across several weeks, but
I'm going to do my best to not even start until the fourth week of
Advent. We'll see how long I can hold out.
So far I've only
Winter/Christmas blankets and pillow covers for the living room
Kitchen linens (hand towels, etc)
Holiday scented candles (pine, sugar cookie, gingerbread, etc)
And a plain fir wreath for the door
The blankets, pillow covers, and hand towels are all functional necessities (see how slick I am at justifying that? I would make the worst drug addict). Plus the pillow covers (which I made last year) are made of soft fleece so they're super snuggly now that it's cold. Piper and Molly love them. I always have scented candles around the house, so that's not really anything special. We just filled our Advent calendar with candy last night (it doesn't start until December 1st) and are now officially counting the days until Christmas.
I'm really excited about the wreath! I've never had a live wreath before and I wanted to get one before they were sold out. So I put it up on the front door without any embellishments. I plan on decorating it on Christmas Eve when I decorate our tree. Until then, it's going to sit empty in anticipation of the coming joy at Christmas.
One last note: If you are one of my many friends who has already gotten started with the Christmas celebration, please don't take this blog post as any sort of judgment or criticism. You are, of course, perfectly free to do whatever you want with your own homes and in your own lives. Frankly, I like to live vicariously through you when I see all the beautiful things you've done with your lights and trees. I just ask that you try to take a step back from the fast-paced and frantic holiday shopping frenzy to remember what the season is all about. Take ten minutes every day to sit in a quiet place and reflect on what Christmas really means to you.
And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.