Every year I ask myself if it’s worth it. The put up and take down of Christmas. Which for me means enough boxes, baskets, bags, pictures and stand-alone items to pretty much fill up the stairwell closet.
It takes most of a weekend to transform the house: get everything out and up, fill the boxes with the non-seasonal things that will be missing for 6 weeks or so, put them back into the closet after taking out all the coats so I can scoot inside easier. Then the first or second week in January I do it all in reverse. Move the coats. Haul out the boxes. Box up the ornaments and stockings and decorations and dishes and cookie tins. Restock the china cabinet with assorted patterns from my grandmothers. Shove everything back in the closet. Re-hang the coats.
I love looking at my china cabinet filed with beautiful Spode Christmas Tree patterned dishes of every type imaginable. I use them all throughout the holidays, they aren’t just for decoration. I never get tired of their beauty.
I like to see each one of the 27 stockings hanging from the mantle. One for every son and daughter and their spouses, every grandchild and for the two of us, the ones who started it all. In our house they don’t get filled by Santa; the names remind us of all the love that fills our lives.
And of course I have to have a tree. Unthinkable not to. I love lifting the ornaments out of their boxes, remembering who gave the special ones to me, the hand crafted ones from grandchildren, deciding where to place each one. I enjoy the Hallmark series Mom has given to us through the years, her special joy to add to and complete a series.
Christmas cookies. Mine are almost a whole ‘nother blog. Hours to make and chill the dough, hours to cut out and bake, hours to make the icing, hours to decorate. But I love them. I love to eat them, share them, package them up for gifts, and eat them – all the way through January.
The shelf decorations. I always have a Christmas shelf with miniatures and music boxes and unique things collected over the years for children to play with. Reindeer and sleighs, tiny toys to put into tiny bags and boxes, pictures with Santa. Each year I find the tiny toys all over the house as I begin to put it to rights once the company is gone. Every time I find one I smile.
Wreath on the front door. The framed Merry Christmas puzzle hanging over the Christmas shelf. The cloth basket filled with stuffed animals, each related to Christmas or dressed in red and green. The cherished nativity set made of olive wood from the Holy land, paired with a small manger found on sale one year. The smaller nativity made of white porcelain resting on a different table. And the smallest nativities of all on the Christmas shelf, available for children to handle. This blog is about decorating, but Christmas is about so much more – the Christ child who grew into a man to become the Redeemer of all who choose to believe.
Pictures. Lots of them for my now annual photo book, a gift to myself to capture such happy memories and precious moments. Pictures from Christmas Eve services to display, pictures from our time together to slip through during the off season and again when Christmas comes around. So this year, like every other year so far, my answer is yes. Oh yes. It’s worth it to spend a couple of weekends a year getting it out and putting it away again. 3% of my life annually yielding returns beyond measure. Oh yes, it’s worth it.