Slowing Down in December

'tis the season
I’ve had such a hard time putting words together on screen lately. Thoughts have been rushing through my head like wild fire and I’ve composed entire posts in my head while waiting to fall asleep. I’ve even imagined clicking ‘post’. Have you received those insomniatic posts on your RSS feeder? Those are always the good ones, the ones virtually written in the wee hours of the night without a pen in sight. This week, I hope to actually get them to you.

Each year in December I try to inject a little more meaning behind my Christmas decor and take out some of the glittery lamé. While I’m not quite ready to sign us up for a No Shop Christmas or anything drastic, I do what I can to slow Christmas down, to be actually be present in the season, and I avoid shopping centers at all costs. And maybe it is an overly romantic idea, but I try to keep the consumerism down for my two young boys to a minimal level. We don’t show them cartoons that show commercials and we make doubly sure that this doesn’t happen at this time of year. I’ve found that filling our house full of things that remind me of the true merriment of the season helps focus me.
apples in december
Last year I read about how in Germany, at the begining of December they take a pruning of their apple tree, put it in a vase inside and in about 20 or so days it will be in full bloom…just in time for Christmas. It just so happened that the day I read that article, Scott happened to be pruning our dormant apple tree so I took a few branches and put them in a tall vase on our mantle. With a healthy dose of scepticism but with my ever ensuing hope, I kept the vase full of water. And wouldn’t you know? Right around Christmas Day it burst open with little pink blooms. I was all ready to show you how we did this this year, but it was such a warm fall that our apple tree is still full of leaves. However if its been cold where you live and the apple trees have lost their leaves, give it a try. Seeing those little pink flowers during the longest, darkest days of the year is a welcome sight indeed.

This year, however, I bought this Swedish welcome star (pictured at the top). And I just love it. I’ve never been to Sweden, but I’ve read that they place these in their front windows to symbolize light in the long dark days and to welcome visitors to their house. We don’t have a front window to place this in, but I put it in front of this old mirror in our family room and the beautiful light gets reflected all over our living area. Sitting next to the music box angel that I inherited from my grandmas house makes it even more meaningful.

What do you do to celebrate the holidays that’s a little more natural and a little less consumeristic?

6 Comments

Filed under Holidays, Musings

6 responses to “Slowing Down in December

  1. We decorate the house and give homemade gifts to friends as oppose to doing the whole commercial holiday. Like you I avoid the mall and other hubs and try to buy gifts that are meaningful for Mike and family members. Mostly we enjoy the holiday without going over the top – focusing on the things that are important to us… decorating the tree, hanging the lights, having friends over for a dinner party one evening. The older I get the more I find that “getting stuff” just doesn’t do it for me.

    Gorgeous star BTW.

  2. Hey Kendra! Since my kid’s grandparents really enjoy getting things for my kids, this year we used Christmas as the opportunity to get them some bigger item things that they need. Hudson is getting a new car seat, Libby is getting a bicycle. That way they get fewer “things”, but the grandparents still are getting them something.

    That is a beautiful star. A few Christmases ago our church gave out gift boxes to everyone. In the box there is a story of Jesus’ birth with various props to hold and pass around while the story is being read, like a small version of a crown of thorns, a small cross, and a small candle to be lit throughout the day. We get that out and do it before we open presents, and I feel like it puts us in the right perspective.
    I hope you have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

  3. I try to give gifts that are truly meaningful. Usually the gifts end up homemade or second hand/antique. I try to spend time thinking about the person, why I want to get them a gift and what I want that gift to say. Instead of focusing on buy, buy, buy.

  4. We haven’t had cable since our son was one year old so he doesn’t get much exposure to commercials for which I’m especially happy about at this time of year. I also think it’s great for him to miss all the cheesy Christmas specials that hand out canned Christmas morals.

    We don’t have any real traditions but we don’t do a whole lot for Christmas. Decorating is one of our keen joys though.

  5. Vicki Davisson

    We are doing a lot of handmade gifts this year (cookie mix in a jar, hot chocolate, etc.) At first I thought my husband would think it was “ghetto” compared to store bought gifts, but instead he gladly went with me to the local hardware store to get wide mouth quart size jars (he wanted two boxes!) for the mix we put together, after which we went to the local grocery store (not my usual Whole Foods run). Then tonight he judged which layered mix looked better in the jar, urged us to make extras, and offered to run to the store to get more ingredients if needed.

    My son helped me make up the gifts and I encouraged him to make his whatever way he wanted. Tomorrow he wants to make them up “to make sure they rise correctly,” LOL (not that he wants cookies – What??). I’d have done them up organically, but we’re the oddballs in the family and the others do not care about organic/conventional. Besides, these cookies will have sooo much sugar in them… So I guess I’ll take my son’s opinion and go from there in adjusting the recipe. Anyway, it’s so much more meaningful than just a random gift you found on a shelf somewhere.

    I’m glad I found your blog, will read more as time goes on. We are wanting to start growing organic veggies and cut down on the Whole Foods runs. Thanks!

  6. Pingback: Starting the New Year off Right « A Sonoma Garden

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