The festive season is upon us again, and as a mother I find this time of year very stressful. The kids are exhausted after a long year and in need of a holiday ( we have a large break here over Christmas as it is Summer) and the days go by so much faster than the items on the to do list get checked off!
So how do I find time to decorate the house? That is what I am thinking this minute as I brace myself for putting up the Christmas tree today and decorating it with the help of little hands, I am sure it will take all day and I will spend the next three weeks putting decorations back on as Alex explores them and takes them for rides in his wagon.
I think I am going to ask Santa's Elves to help!! How do you think I will get on?
Yes I thought so, but I am going to take a leaf out of their book and do it over night, no distractions and time to hang lights and wreaths, place flowers and nuts and have some time to feel the Christmas spirit myself before the bedlam starts again in the morning. Won't the family be surprised to wake up and find a Christmas house?
We have already started the Advent calender obviously, I don't know who's good idea it was to put chocolate behind the daily flaps, but now they crave the daily ritual chocolate and aren't so interested in the Christmas spirit. Emily has just asked her father if they could pretend it is tomorrow so that Alex can have another chocolate! Can you believe the thought that goes into getting more chocolate! Never mind they are young. Back to decorating.
There are many paths you can take to decorate, there is the "Large Energy Bill" version where you light up your home like a Christmas tree and you have everyone for the next few weeks stopping outside your house to stare in! This looks fun, but I have yet to see a tastefully decorated house. If you have done this with expertise send me a photo at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly share it with our readers. I must admit when the whole community gets on board and the whole street is lit up it does look good, no, entertaining.
Then there is the "Traditional Mistletoe Christmas" when the Christmas Tree is the focus, decorated with lights glass balls and loaded with boxed gift wrapped presents with bows underneath. The stair way is wrapped in decorations and they hang from every doorway. The front door has a wreath and probably just for fun there is a tasteful singing Santa with a tray that has toffees or chocolates for your Christmas guests. And Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" softly lilting through the air.
The "The Bells and Whistles" version is when you are bombarded from arriving at the front door to when you leave with everything Christmas, like the soft toy Jingle Bells singing mice, the Santa with a red lit up nose going "Ho, Ho, Ho" every 3 minutes, probably the occupants wearing reindeer antlers that flash on their ears and dangly red and green earrings that also flash to the chorus of another common Christmas Carol. Every room is sprinkled with tinsel creating a slightly different version of the tinsel town we know. Bows and bells are everywhere and no one leaves with out a big Christmas Kiss under the mistletoe.
There is also something new to some of you The "Kiwi Beach Bach" (Bach = Holiday House) Christmas Version, now this is very Pacific inspired. Driftwood tied together to create the form of a tree, shells tied to form decorations and sand sprinkled under it, and the optional extra from those who can't get away from a bit of glitz, even at the holiday house, a simple string of twinkling lights. The blooming Pohutakawa, (the New Zealand Christmas Tree, a beautiful tree with bright red flowers) line the streets and you have some nuts in a woven flax basket for guests and a bottle of beer. For the red and green we have jaffas and snifters (local sweets with chocolate centres) in a paua shell. A guitar to sing Christmas Carols, and not much more really. We like to take the time to think about the spirit of Christmas and family. Oh I forgot, a tradition in my family is to leave out a bottle of beer for Santa as he gets very thirsty! We have altered it slightly and left out milk and cookies for Santa and water and carrots for the reindeer. He always leaves a thank you note as well as presents, how kind!
I guess decorating you home for Christmas is a very personal experience and I shouldn't glamorise one and put down another, I am just tired of the commercialism that has entered this time of year. The Christmas sell, sell, sell and decorations began in November and I tire of the Christmas songs every time you enter a store. The TV is loaded with buy this and buy that for Christmas, where has the Christmas spirit gone?
I wrapped up some gifts for under privileged children, to take to Emily's preschool as they were collecting them to put under the huge Christmas tree in our local City's Cathedral. I can't tell you how good that felt to be giving to others that I didn't even know, I was surprised how I felt and realised how self absorbed you can become at this time of year, so my to do list has been shelved, people will get gifts from the heart, I am not entering anymore noisy stores and we are going to reflect about how we live over summer and yes I will still decorate, but with a more less is best option, so that I can relax and spend time with family and share the Christmas spirit.
So remember, have fun decorating your home, but if you just don't have the time remember it is the small things that count, make time to give a hug to a loved one, a phone call to someone far away, or with email, write a family newsletter and send photos with it, that can be the best gift for some of us.
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