Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

For years now, we've had our way of doing things at Christmastime.

We come back from Ohio the day after Thanksgiving in order to track down and purchase a 12-ft. tree on Saturday.  Throughout the weekend, we haul out the decorations and get a good start on decking the halls.

The week is filled to the brim with cleaning and decorating, as the very next weekend we host a big, adults-only Christmas party. 

From then on, it's all Christmas all the time.  We bake, we shop, we wrap, we dance, we go to parties.  We celebrate our hearts out all the way through, and Santa always makes an early visit just for us, seeing as how we always spend Christmas Eve and Day in Ohio. 

We come back home a day or two after Christmas.  Home to a dead tree, a mess of laundry and gifts to put away, and general unrest until I can get every bit of decoration back in the box from which it came.

For the last few years, I've been uncomfortable with this way of doing things.

We completely skip over Advent, and by the time the Christmas season is here, we're done with Christmas and ready to move on.  Usually we move on to snow removal and some sort of indoor house project.

At church last weekend, the sermon was all about the first day of Advent being the first day of the new liturgical year.  It is the perfect time to change something we want to change.  And instead of making a resolution like people do on January 1st, he suggested we make a commitment. 

This year, the unexpected kitchen renovation has put a big old red stop sign to our Christmas normal.  What a blessing in disguise it has been.  The experience has been the catalyst that I needed to change the way we do things.  To make a commitment to doing things differently this year.

It is December 7, and we don't have a tree.  In fact, we haven't pulled out a single decoration.  We don't have a stove, so we haven't baked a single cookie. 

Instead, I bought our family's first Advent "wreath" and a daily devotional book.  (All for $18.)  Instead of our usual daily readings, we've been going through this book at breakfast.

Did you notice that it says "Joy"?  I didn't until Star pointed it out three days after I bought it and put it on the dining room table.
We have our Sparkle Box that we won from my first blog friend  (who just happens to live thirty minutes away from me!) at Raise Them Up and we're filling it up.

The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas

The kitchen cabinets are in and the counter top was templated today, but the renovation won't be done until after Christmas.

We will be able to start moving things into the pantry and cabinets before then, though.  Everything in the piano room will be moved, leaving space for our tree.

Perfect timing.

We'll decorate the tree the day before Santa comes.  And the first thing we'll do in our finished kitchen is make Christmas cookies.  During the Christmas season.  Where they belong.

And because I mentioned the kitchen, you are going to have to endure a few kitchen photos.

First, remember the before:


What was that?  You'd like a closer look at those door knobs? 

And the inside? 


Would you like to see the sink?

Sweet mama, Hubby is going to have so much fun washing the dinner dishes in that sink!

Have a lovely day!


  1. Ooooh! Aaaaaah! *sigh*

    And about the tree. Why is everyone distressed about not having a tree up by Dec. 7th? You're the 3rd blogger to express dismay about this in my feed in 2 days.
    My dear, I give you permission to wait until Christmas Eve if you like because then you've got the whole Christmas season (to Epiphany) to enjoy. You are not late... yet. We have been Christmas Eve decorators on several different occasions (usually involving seasons with some kind of flu in the family). It always shocked the children to see people throwing their trees out the day after Christmas when we just got ours up. lol.

    1. Thank you for the support. We're bucking the normal jump to get Christmas up and running, focusing on the Advent preparations, and it will be wonderful.

  2. I love accidental spiritual gifts, though they are never really accidental are they? Wishing you a blessed season. Enjoy the slowing down.

    1. It really is a gift. Thank you. I pray yours is as calm and peaceful as can be.

  3. Wow it's all looking so pretty!

    I'm used to putting the tree up on Christmas eve and taking it down after the 12 days. Should probably think about a decoration or two soonish. And no tree this year as we're not home anyways.

    1. Thank you!
      I knew there were people out there who waited until Christmas Eve. I've seen it in books, but I have never seen people do it.

  4. My tree isn't up either! I have no good excuse.

    1. The beauty is, you don't need an excuse. A tree is not mandatory to celebrate Jesus.

  5. Happy new year! Sounds like you're doing it right! I linked to this post, I liked it so much!

    1. You're so sweet. Thanks for the link. Have a nice weekend!

  6. It''s so funny that you didn't see that the "wreath" said joy. But I guess if you're looking at it from the side rather than down as in the photo, then you wouldn't see it. That made me laugh. And that is a beautiful advent wreath. Love it! Glad to hear you're world is slowing down for the season. I feel like God is whispering for me to do the same thing. Now all I have to do is listen...and do it!

    1. I do like the wreath, even more now that I know what it says. Sometimes it is so hard to listen to that little whispering voice when there are so many more loud voices telling you something different.

  7. We usually put our tree up roughly two weeks before Christmas. This year, it hasn't quite felt like Christmas because my oldest daughter isn't home from college yet. She'll be home next Thursday night, so we'll get to decorate the house and hopefully things will start feeling a little more Christmas-y then :) The kitchen is coming along GREAT! I'm glad it's served as the catalyst you needed this year!

    1. I'm sure the holidays have a different feel until everyone is gathered together again. I'm glad I still have several more years before the oldest goes to college.
      I can see the light at the end of this kitchen tunnel, and it is bright! I was shocked, when looking back at the before picture, that we lived in such a terrible kitchen just 6 weeks ago. I hardly remember it anymore.


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