Slow Preparations

Instead of our more typical rush to get all the Christmas decor up at once, we’ve been ushering it in slowly over the last few weeks, adding little touches here and there as we find the time and space.  I’ve been working on a few hand made gifts and spent some time shopping locally for special treasures.  We’ve even done a bit of baking here and there instead of all of it on one hectic and rushed day.  The result is a much more relaxed December for us all, and, I think, a much more enjoyable one.

We found our tree on our own land, walking one Sunday afternoon to the hidden field to see if there might be a tree for us there.  A home cut tree is nothing like one from a tree farm where they spend much time grooming and caring for their trees.  Ours is a little wild, has a few bare spots where the sun didn’t reach, long branches jutting out over smaller ones in a rather unorganized way.  It’s perfect in its imperfection, reflecting much of our lives these days in the strong branches.

We decorated our tree carefully.  Well, not carefully as in every ornament placed just so, but carefully as in nothing breakable.  With five cats frolicking around we didn’t want to risk the breaking of any treasures.  So we have our handmade ornaments hanging.  It’s perfect in its simplicity, reflecting much of what we need to remember to focus on these days.

Our gifts are much more curated this year.  Though we typically don’t overindulge in toys and disposable items, we try to keep to a few themes with our gifting for our children.  One of those themes is “tools not toys”.  So there have been years when a camera was given, classes to learn a skill, tools for building and making.  This year our budget is much smaller, so the gifts we give are even more carefully selected, filling needs more than wants.  Handmade items and locally purchased gifts are also being prepared for giving.  There are fewer treasures, but the treasures are still there – a hand knitted hat, a pair of fingerless mitts, locally grown tea and honey, wooden toys made by a sweet retired man.  They are perfect in the slow gathering that’s taken place, reflecting the thought and love that we’ve given to each person.

The flurry of activity is coming to a close in the next few days.  Boxes have been packaged and wait near me for a quick trip to the post office, sending Christmas love to my children far away.  Most of the gathering and shopping has been done and gifts are waiting for quiet wrapping.  Dance classes are ending with a final holiday dance before a small winter break.  Final projects and papers have been submitted by our Middles in their college classes.  Soon we’ll all be gathering together at home as my husband enjoys a few precious days away from his day work. Baking and wrapping and making and giving will be happening in abundance.  What a sweet way to spend our days.