making merry

This morning, Claire and I sat in front of a nice warm fire listening to the Vince Guaraldi Trio and stringing popcorn and cranberries for the birds.  She helped with the stringing by eating lots of popcorn and occasionally handing me the real big puffy ones after I showed her how they were the easiest to string.  As we sat there I was thinking about how I was completely content to have that be my primary focus for a big chunk of the morning.  Sit, listen, munch, meditatively string one piece of popcorn after another.......  sometimes it is so easy to get carried away in all that we think we should be doing and seeing and making and planning, and so quietly stringing popcorn felt pretty good.  There's that balance to be found this time of year, between making merry and drawing inward as the days get shorter and the mercury drops.  Around here we are daily doing some small something in recognition of this lovely and joyous time of year~ whether it's trips to that oh-so-special ballet, stringing garland for the birds, making gifts for loved ones, or a simple story or song, there's something there.  I sit here writing and realize that we are now halfway through her advent calendar.  And part of me feels rushed, as though there's so much I need to do... but there isn't, there just isn't, and so I tell that part of me to kindly can it, thank you very much.  Tomorrow's little surprise will be a tiny piece of fir tree with a note about going to pick out our tree together tomorrow night. (we tried once before, but weather and schedules and such did not mesh, so I'm hopeful for round two)  If there's time, maybe we'll even make some ornaments for our tree in the morning.  And maybe not.

The ingredients for peppermint bark are all sitting on the counter staring at me, daring me to bring them together in just the right way.  It will be intended as gifts and a fair amount will make it as such but I expect many casualties.  It's tasty stuff, after all.  And of course there are cookies to make, sugar cookies with brown sugar and a hint of orange peel.  So much yummier, in my opinion, than the standard lemon.  What keeps me from diving into those two is the notion that we probably shouldn't eat just peppermint bark and cookies for a week straight.  Probably, right?  So I'm waiting.  Just a bit.

The garland is on the mantel with clove-studded oranges, candles, and pinecones.  And my cell phone and some tiny hairbands and barrettes of Claire's.  They just kind of end up there.  I move them away and then put them back, reminding myself that I live in my home with my family, and not in a place where it is unacceptable for there to be proof of that strewn about.  Trust me, it is strewn.  All about.

But back to the wintry adornments.  The lights and the swags (I think that's what those things up there are called?) and the garland and the stockings and the snowman dish holding tiny candy canes.... I think part of why I love them so much is that they force me to stop and take it all in.  They help serve as reminders to be in a mindset of celebration and cheer and, well, mindfulness and right-here-right-now-ness.  This is now.  This is special.  This will not last forever.  So.  Enjoy.

It makes me want to start adorning my house all year round with something seasonally appropriate and festive.  To be reminded that this is now, this is special, this will not last forever, so, enjoy.


  1. This inspired me to comment. I love this season, and try to do a little each day. We have the Advent wreath and Mary's star path, and today Elsa is going to put on a white dress and deliver cinnamon buns to us in bed for Saint Lucy's day. (The cinnabon buns are from a can, kind of. I think it is important though, not to get too mad at yourself if you are not enjoying every second. I really want to do special, not commercial things with the kiddos for the season,a nd it is a lot of work and sometimes I get tired and stressed...but it is what I want. I want to do these things and it is kind of my job to make it right.

    1. I like the star path, maybe I'll do that with Claire next year~ Saint Lucia's day sounds like a fun one to observe with kids, I bet a fun part of homeschooling is introducing your kids to all of these different holidays/traditions from around the world.... not that you couldn't otherwise, but I imagine it being more of an immersion if you are, you know?

      Yeah, I have to constantly remind myself about not having to enjoy every second. Or rather, when we are doing something all together, I can be a bit over-aware of us needing to be 'really taking it all in and enjoying'... which, of course, can be very very counterproductive ;)



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