Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Yes, You Can Order a Christmas Tree Online

Just like yesterday, I went to sleep exhausted at 8 pm, woke up at 1:30 am, and now can't get back to sleep. Hmmm... what to do with all this free time? I know! I'll buy my Christmas tree!

Either I am being unbelievably efficient or I'm just really looking for something to do.

But it is nice to know that you can have a fresh Christmas tree shipped to your door. I would never have looked that up except for COVID. There are apparently a lot of companies that offer this! I went with Williams Sonoma.

I am really getting excited about a slow Christmas, although I know the reasons behind it needing to be this way are awful. Of course I don't want people to be getting sick and dying. But we had the nicest Halloween we've ever had because it didn't get taken over by candy and crazy. We entered one pumpkin decorating contest at the library, carved two pumpkins for the front porch, did a few Nature walks with Zac in his costume (a monarch butterfly costume my mom sewed for my brother when he was a little boy), and on the day of Halloween he got two baggies of treats from neighbors and two baggies of treats from friends who dropped by and left them on our doorstep. I don't think I'd ever had homemade caramel popcorn before! And Zac set out a few pieces of candy leftover from last year (which I found in the back of a kitchen cupboard) and the Switch Witch brought him a gift. Simple.

It was like we all crystallized the holiday down to what really mattered and we made sure we did that. And we didn't do anything else.

I know the word "intentional" gets overused. But that's what Halloween felt like.

Usually December is a raucous month for me because we put on our Class Play -- which is a wonderful celebration but makes for a really busy time -- and then we immediately get in the car and start the long two-day or sometimes four-day drive to see family. And then we have the long drive back and then school starts up again the next day. This year I get to avoid all that. And I feel like I'll actually be able to slow down and enjoy things.

So here's my wishlist:

Twelve Days of Christmas
Spread out the gift giving over the twelve days of Christmas (begin Dec 25 and end Jan 5) and hide a gift around the house each day with clues

Wrapped Advent Calendar
Wrap 24 Winter and Christmas books and open one each night as the bedtime story (we set these up in my forward facing bookcases in the library so that they are beautifully displayed)

Paper Advent Calendar
Paper Advent calendar (this will be Zac's first) as a routine for the morning

Ornament Advent Calendar
And we also have a Christmas ornament Advent calendar, with 24 pockets and I put a crochet snowflake in each one, and on that morning after breakfast we add that ornament to the tree

Mary's Path of Stars
Setting up Mary's path of stars (from All Year Round) on the Nature table and slowly build the Nativity scene with the nature items from the four weeks of Advent (rocks on week 1, plants on week 2, animals on week 3, and the shepherds on week 4). Mary and Joseph and the donkey are of course there the whole time, walking from star to star. Sundays are the big stars and the other days of the week are the little stars, and we have cut them out of gold paper. Each day they walk to the next star and we put the previous one up on the wall with a bit of tape, so that on Christmas morning they have arrived at the stable and there are all these stars in the sky. This is also a morning routine, after we add the snowflake ornament to the tree

Outdoor Decorations
And I have my grandfather's vintage Christmas tree lights -- the kind with the big painted bulbs -- and I've never put them up. This year I may have time! It's one string along the front porch, and he left a drawn diagram of where they go. I am sure I can manage it. I just have never gotten around to it. My grandparents kept outdoor decorations minimal. The one string of lights and a small angel (which my mom and her sisters all chipped in on and gave them for Christmas when they were young) that lights up in front of the house. It was always my job to turn the angel on in the evenings when I was a girl. I will be thrilled to have time to do the lights and have the house look just the same as it did when I was little

Indoor Decorations
We do have lots of indoor decorations that I like to set up for Christmas. Again, so many of them are from my grandparents or great-grandparents

Saint Nicholas & Santa Lucia
I hesitate to add cookie decorating to the list because I don't enjoy it and I don't want to stress myself out. Leave that as a maybe. But we can definintely do Santa Lucia buns if nothing else, because my recipe for those takes Bisquick. Zac loves his star boy hat and wand. And he has already explained to me with great certainty that I will be Lucia this year since there are no other girls. It is funny how much he remembers from last year when he was only four. Santa Lucia Day Dec 6 and Saint Nicholas Day Dec 13 are both a yes for this year.

Advent Spiral & Solstice
Zac and I can still build the Advent spiral in the yard, and he can walk it with his apple candle holder on Solstice Dec 21 and light his little candle from the big earth candle in the center. I think it'll still be lovely, even if it's just him. Maybe he and I can each do several candles, so that there are enough lights in the spiral to make it shine.

And, circling around to the idea of 12 Days of Christmas. I just really like the idea of drawing it out. Enjoying it! And I have to decide if it'll be 12 gifts, or if something like baking cookies could be on one of the days. Of course, I don't want it to always be about presents. Maybe I can even set the record player up and get out the old Christmas records. That would really be like when I was little. Going downstairs to flip the record over is another fond memory. I wonder how many children even know about that nowadays????

I can't control COVID. And I have really been isolating Zac and myself for safety, which gets lonely after months and months, as we all know. So I think that putting my energy into something that feels happier and more positive is important... and which is in my control... and which doesn't make me feel lonely because I feel connected to my grandparents and how Christmas always used to be in this house when I was a little girl. This place is always where I was the happiest. I would be so sad to have Christmas without the smell of a real tree in the house, so I'm glad that I figured out a way to do it safely. And the idea that a tree is going to show up on our doorstep sometime between Nov 30 and Dec 5 will be really exciting for Zac!

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