I hear sleigh bells as I gaze upon page after glossy page of dreamy winter wonderlands framed by festive windows; the quintessential wreath hanging from a velvet red ribbon. I can smell the glazed ham and pumpkin pie as I click my way through the houseware sections online. As I gaze upon the festive homes filled with merriment on my Pinterest boards, my heart cries yes as my wallet whimpers out a mournful no, please no, for the love of all things holy, no.
My wallet is very articulate.
It’s no secret that November and December are a retailers dream. From small independent mom and pop stores to the big box giants, everyone’s clamoring for a piece of that pie- and I’m not talking that sweet potato one in an adorable pie plate from Amazon. And they’ll play dirty to come out on top. They are relentless in their pursuit. They sell dreams of Christmas perfection. They dazzle us with daydreams of gathering around a fire (below a perfectly decorated mantle), everyone in matching pajamas that cost more than my electric bill (family of six, remember?), eating sweet treats on plates shaped like gingerbread cookies.
They had my number and man did they call me. It was like I was on speed- dial.
Window displays of days gone by would lure me in, promising holiday perfection. Seasonal music filled my ears as I happily shelled out dollars and coins. I’d dance with the sugar plum fairies while pushing my cart full of Yuletide booty towards my car; humming along with the radio station as I unloaded my new purchases and began to decorate my home.
When the holiday high finally faded, I’d sit on my couch, surrounded by tinsel and scraps of wrapping paper and try to remember what happened. And when I’d finally look up from my cup of cocoa and really look at our bank account, the merry music would be replaced by a musical score worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
And the worst part? My home wouldn’t have even gotten close to those decieving, perfect pictures of Merry Bliss. Not only would I feel stupid, but I’d also feel like a complete failure. I’d realize I had been bamboozled. Beguiled. And completely missed out on the simple joy of just being.
It was a cycle. A vicious cycle dressed up in an ugly sweater and a hideous pair of socks. You know, the ones your grandmother got you every year.
Each year we seem to be stepping back more and more from the hype of the holidays. We don’t need the latest and greatest decorations to have an amazing Christmas. We just need each other.
Yes, I still love to decorate for the holidays. I ooh and aah over the plethora of pretty things. I love things. I’m not ashamed. I am most definitely not a minimalist. I like stuff. If that makes me materialistic, then fine. I admit it. But as I mentioned in my previous post- I’m not rolling around in a pile of money. No dinero. At least when it comes to buying things I don’t really need. And no, I don’t need the stack of coffee cups that look like a snowman. I just want them. So I’m a broke practical materialistic mama.
So, how do I stay true to myself, get that satisfaction of finding little treasures for my home, and decorating to my hearts content without ringing in the new year with buyers remorse?
I kiss Christmas.
Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. (No need for name calling.)
1. Start with what I have. I lug it all into the house and take stock of everything. Then I make a list. Anything broken that needs replaced? Anything missing? Is there anything I truly need that I haven’t bought yet?
This year it’s: One more stocking because I lost one of them and a new tree skirt. A few more ornaments. And that’s it.
2. Shop my house. Any non holiday items that I can use?
The answer is a huge resounding yes.
Glass bell jars. White pitchers, platters, and bowls. Candle pedestals. Even tin cans that I cleaned out and use as vases from time to time. Any and all of these look amazing with a bit of seasonal floral and branches, pine cones and even loose ornaments.
3. Focus on one room and let it just flow from there.
I no longer try to decorate my entire downstairs. It’s impossible, and costly. And I value my sanity. So the bulk of our decorating goes on in whatever room holds our Christmas tree. Our family room. The bathroom, front room, dining room and kitchen will get little touches that tie them all to the main focal point- the family room.
4. Perspective and purpose. We take our sweet time and remind ourselves not to sweat the small stuff. In the end, does it really matter? No. What matters is that we lived well and loved often. Besides, I’m pretty sure Jesus is still going to love me, even if my silverware is mismatched and I only own one tablecloth. I’m just saying. I mean, he is the King of Kings and he was born in a manger……
Until next time, comment below! What’s your favorite Christmas song? When do you start decorating for Christmas? Any family traditions? I look forward to hearing from you!
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