Simply Christmas

It is indeed beginning to look rather festive and Christmas-y at our place! We have been decking our halls, singing Christmas hymns, doing Advent readings, and practicing familiar Christmas songs on our trusty old piano. And there is even some snow on the ground... yes!

And we did, over the weekend, make together a yummy batch of peppermint candy sprinkled white chocolate dipped pretzels. They were delicious! We plan to make them again before Christmas (maybe just maybe they will last longer than a day? with our big tribe, probably not...) *smile*

I have greatly simplified my Christmas decorating over the years. In our cozy little house that is filled to its brim with children and pets and homeschooling supplies and crafty things and ... well, it causes me to be rather choosy to display seasonal items that we truly enjoy. Things we think are beautiful and that really have meaning for us.

Not to mention that we have a Christmas Eve birthday *and* a New Year's Day birthday (so blessed to have holiday babies!) in our family, so this season of decorating and celebrating is Christmas and more! at our place, as we all focus on the birth of the Savior of the world.

Some time ago, I had several Nativity sets, but this is the one I have kept through the years. It sits in its traditional spot atop our piano. I recently picked up the cute basket at our thrift store... I will be filling it with cinnamon scented pine cones that my dear hubby found for me at a shop in town.

We put our Christmas tree in the dining room this year. I really like it and it isn't in the way as it was near the front door in the living room. This artificial tree is several years old and we plan to replace it eventually, but this year it just suited us as is. And, we aren't quite convinced that our boisterous and bouncy one-year-old Labrador Retriever won't be knocking it over a time or two. Ha! That Jack!

We added some strings of lights, candy canes, and lots and lots of homemade ornaments - some are mama-made, many are crafted by our children, a few are from friends - amongst the purchased and gifted and hand-me-down ones that remain in my collection.

Some of my girls and I sewed together felt bird ornaments from a kit a couple of years ago. The kids told me that I made this one, though I couldn't remember for sure which one I made.

Here is one of the heart-shaped ornaments we made from clay we collected from our creek earlier this year. They are some of my favorite ones on the tree. Homegrown and homemade they are!

And these are two of my oldest and most special ornaments. Our two oldest children made them when they were little... the Santa star was crafted by our soon-to-be thirty year old son when he was five, and the hand was made by our grown daughter when she was about that same age.

I don't tend to be very sentimental or spend much time dwelling on the past (so many lovely things to abide in and be thankful for right now!) but these two ornaments lovingly made for me by sweet little hands do bring back fond memories of Christmases gone by with my dear hubby and our kids.

The only decorating that remains is to hang the strings of colored lights around the inside of our house. Lights, lights everywhere... so twinkly and cheerful, especially with the shortened daylight hours of December.

Of course there is plenty of baking and making yet to do. Some shopping, yes, and a long list of Christmas movies we want to watch together. Presents to wrap, of course. Games to play. Our tradition of cookie decorating and gingerbread house decorating. Perhaps a drive to town to view all of the local holiday decor. Memories to make. Traditions to savor. And as always, so much to be thankful for. God is so good!


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