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When you’re NOT ready for Christmas

December 17, 2015

T’was just eight days before Christmas and we’re clearly not ready.

Blogger friend and not-far neighbor Jennifer Murch periodically shares still life portraits of her home and family on her blog, where she takes a shot in her kitchen or dining room table at a specific time of day, and dissects what is going on in the particular photo or scene. I love those posts for the real life glimpses, the not prettied up photos that will one day be oh-such-poignant reminders of her family’s life at given times. I’m not attempting to copy her dry wit and observations–usually about a single photo–but here is a glimpse of our Christmas preparations in progress.


7:35 a.m. Dec. 16, 2015

I supposed every Christmas has it’s moments of “will we ever make it?” including the very first one when Mary first told Joseph there was no way she’d ever make it to Bethlehem on a donkey, they wouldn’t have a place to stay, and what if the baby came so far from home?

This year I’m at the “we’ll never make it stage” and I thought rather than showing our house all prettied up for the holidays, I would show the before. Or maybe the not yet.


I brought a few decorating boxes to the dining room table where the cat’s taken up semi-permanent residence. She pretty much sleeps here all day long.


First things: (items stored in a closet, not the attic) include the advent wreath, this year a scaled back version because I couldn’t get to the church advent fair.


The homemade advent calendar, picked up at a yard sale for about $5, still goes up. Dutifully (and sometimes belatedly) I add the daily creche figures, remembering when it was a task the kids squabbled over.

Next up, a kitchen window collection of churches, angels and tiny nativities. Look carefully you might see the bath-robed photographer photobombing both photos.

I still love a set of four angels playing different instruments. Do I love them because they remind me of our daughters’ band years, or because they were $1 at a church yard sale??


Then comes out comes the wooden reindeer set made long ago by our babysitter’s son, who eventually died way too young in a motorcycle accident. I don’t think I’ll ever part with this tangible reminder of Gary Jr., and how he helped care for our children.

Nor can I ever discard these elves made by Michelle and Tanya at an early “Make it Take It” craft store project.


I always enjoy setting up the nativity set I bought for my parents the year I lived in Barcelona, Spain. Mother eventually gave it back to me, figuring our children and grandchildren could now enjoy it.


The wrapping of gifts has begun. But barely.


Will this home grown tree make it as our Christmas tree this year?? We’ll see!


Are we there yet??

What almost 40 years of getting ready for Christmas in my own home has taught me is that things will get done, and if they don’t, no one misses one less batch of cookies, or notices that you stopped putting out a certain decoration. Too often, there is just too much, anyway. The tree, no matter how homely, always looks “perfect” when decorated.

Like Mary of old, I sit and ponder these things, quietly joyful. The most important but overlooked part of getting ready for Christmas is the work of the heart.


What is your favorite decoration, ornament, or tradition you treasure at Christmas? 

How do you prepare your heart to experience again the wonder of God come to earth at Christmas?


From → Faith, Family Life

  1. Thank you for sharing the “real” here. I can SO identify with the harried feeling right now which I anticipate will dissipate one day at a time. I find home interiors endlessly fascinating. Yours is so welcoming. I love the hard wood floors! We have mostly hardwood floors, but our kitchen is tiled.

    As to your question, we put up fewer and fewer decorations each year. . . always the same ones, different tree. You are resourceful in using what’s at hand to spin a yarn. Ha!

  2. I decided to check out of the frantic/frenzy department this afternoon and so flopped down to pick up reading another chapter of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Sure ’nuff she applauds the state of affairs at your house: “A little apparent disorder is an indication of the fertility of the mind and someone that is actively creating. A perfect studio has always told me that the person is afraid of his own mind and is reflecting in his outward space an inward need for control.” So there you go, Melodie . . . !

  3. Oh this is gold, Marian!! The 2 hours or so I spend several times a week creating stuff for the blog is definitely my (I hope) fertile and happy space. Sometimes I think, I could/should be cleaning ….
    I must check out her book, thanks for the tip and for coming back to add a nugget for my day.

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