This holiday season has been filled with chaos here at Past Blessings Farm . . . I ended up doing some major decorating for our Church Christmas Program plus overseeing the cookie social during the program. It took a lot more time than I had figured on . . . over 40 hours when I had only thought it would take maybe 12! LOL! This next week I will also be decorating for the Youth Group Christmas Party. My sweet husband, Ron agreed to be an elf with me at our church’s “Breakfast with Santa” . . . this is a wonderful community outreach that serves a delicious breakfast, provides quality photos for the kids with Santa and most importantly, has Santa telling the true meaning of Christmas and reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke. We had a lot of fun, and Ron even went along with wearing tights for the event! I did not realize we women have a talent for putting on tights until I tried to explain to my husband how to do it! I was sure he was going to tear his foot right through it when he was putting them on. We served breakfast to over 350 children and parents and had a fun day.
|Ron and I dressed as Elves for “Breakfast with Santa”|
We have also been invited to Christmas dinners, I have went shopping with friends and with family and Sunday night we had our Care Group over for a time of cookies and devotions. Ron has been working an overwhelming amount of hours lately as a paramedic at both AMR and for the Fire Department . . . averaging as many as 80 hours a week quite often. Plus he still plays drums at church and gives drum lessons to two students as well. This has been a blessing, as these extra funds allowed us to pay off some debts and help our oldest with college tuition for winter quarter. But I so wish he had some time off to enjoy the holidays.
And . . . did I mention I have jury duty? I spent most of the last two days sitting in the jurors lounge with a book and today was eliminated as a potential juror for a case . . . which was odd since they never asked me a single question. But I need to return tomorrow, so who knows if I will be on a case again or not. It has only been three years since my last jury duty, so I am a bit frustrated to be called again so soon, but I also know it is a civic duty I should be respectful of. But did it have to be this close to Christmas?!
So, life is good here . . . just busy. But I did want to share some pics of our Christmas Decor here at Past Blessings Farm. Ron and I have put ourselves on a strict budget and a bit of a spending diet, so I had determined in my head to not buy anything new for Christmas decor this year. I have completely obeyed that, other than one string of white lights, due to so many of ours not working this year. I have found that I can add unique touchs each year without having to spend money . . . from flocked branches from the old lilac bushes to new ways to display collections I have had for years. These flocked branches were used at church and most are still there but I was able to bring home one to bless my own home with. I put them in quart canning jars filled with rock salt . . . which gave it the weight and stability it needed and looks like snow! At our church, I also used the rock salt in smaller jars for candles . . . rock salt is cheap . . . $4.99 for a 40 pound bag at Walmart! We got the rock salt that was for water softeners, so you will find it in the hardware section.
Another fun idea was to take an old cloche and fill it with ornaments and pinecones. I had wanted cloches for years, but could never afford them . . . until I noticed at the thrift store one day, that those old clocks from the 1960s and 1970s with the dome are basically cloches!! So I began collecting them . . . most can be found for only a dollar or two and I don’t worry if they work . . . as I am only after the dome. They can be used in so many ways throughout the year . . . so you might want to add them to your list of things you want to find while junking at thrift stores and yard sales.
I love my old crock collection, displayed on my red cabinet, so I just added some simple Christmas trees to the top row, some rustic garland and some fun little snowmen. The cute little “Let it Snow” banner came from Target a few years back . . . it was in their dollar section! Can’t beat that price!
|Our Christmas Tree sits in an old
20 gallon Red Wing Crock
and is loaded with hundreds of
Old World Christmas Ornaments
My Christmas tree is not much different this year . . . other than I swapped the felted bird I had up on top last year for the star. The bird now rests happily on the window sill, where the star had sat last year. Some years I add patriotic flags to the tree . . . Other years it has had baby’s breath in it. I have a few Christmas postcards nestled in the branches as well and have had signs propped in it other years. My main decor on the tree is my hundreds of “Old World Christmas” ornaments. As I have mentioned other years, I am lucky enough to live in the home town of the creators of “Old World Christmas”, which means we have an outlet shop filled with their ornaments. When I first started collecting them, 23 years ago, they were only $1 each! I would faithfully buy about a dozen a year and friends and family quickly added to our collection as well. Each year, each of our sons are given an ornament too. When they leave home, my tree will look a bit naked I fear! What I love about the hand blown glass ornaments, such as Old World Christmas, is that they reflect the Christmas lights so beautifully on the tree. I have golden yellow lights on the tree, which I have done for many years . . . it adds such a lovely warm glow.
I hope these pics inspire you a bit . . . to think outside the box . . . to arrange things a bit differently, to use things in a way you might not have done before. Use what you have . . . From canning jars to graniteware and crocks, it can all be part of the Christmas decor.
But above all, when decorating, remember the reason you are doing it. It is meant to show honor to God . . . to make special the most special day He has given us. It is not about a tree or candy or santa . . . it is a celebration of the Gift of a Savior.
If you can decorate your home to honor this and help you focus on this, then your decorating is a blessing to the Lord. But it you find that decorating for you is a competition with other women, or if you find that decorating distracts you from focusing on what the true meaning of the season is then it is time to re-evaluate. If decorating is a financial burden or a time burden then it is not blessing you. If you are cranky because you don’t have enough help or because Junior didn’t put the light up reindeer where you wanted it, you are missing the point of it all. I know this first hand, because I have been “Mrs. Crank.” Author of One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, says “Creating is good theology. In the beginning God created.” Be creative as you make your home warm, cozy and inviting for the holidays. Think about ways you can keep Christ in Christmas even in the way you decorate. Decorate – to the glory of God! Take a moment to slow down, look at the blessings you have and remember why you are doing this. To bless your family by making your home a haven. . . to honor God by making His day special and treating it as something worthy of celebration. Let your decor declare “Glory to God in the Highest” . . . and may your heart be filled with His presence this Christmas Season.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our new blog The Right Woman !
P.S.S. We are participating in a wonderful Christmas Blog Link Party over at Common Ground . . . come take a peek! Tons of great ideas for Christmas!
Tonight I just got home after setting up for our latest show, “Pickin’ Christmas”, which will take place at the Greyhound Event Center in Post Falls Idaho this coming weekend, December 3 and 4. We have the spots all marked off, the placement figured out for everything from decor to ticket booths . . . and my booth is done. I am pleased with how simple it came together and how nice I think it will display. But still tonight finds me anxious and stressed.